Eagan's Michael Zajac, who has 17 goals and 19 assists in 19 games, has committed to play at Princeton. Photo by Helen Nelson
The fastest way to a hockey recruit’s heart just might be through his stomach.
That route seemed to work on Eagan senior Michael Zajac, who last spring was visiting Princeton University when some of the school’s hockey players took him out to breakfast. They dined at one of the school’s famous eating clubs.
It was an experience that remains filed near the top of Zajac’s memory.
“The players there were all really welcoming,” said Zajac, who is the No. 4-ranked Wildcats’ third-leading score with 36 points in 19 games. “We had fun together.
“The eating clubs are huge houses where you go and eat. They didn’t have to take me there, it wasn’t like they were told to do it. But they did anyway.
“Those eating clubs (which occupy mansions on campus) are a sight to see.”
Zajac’s spring-break visit to the New Jersey school was classified as an unofficial visit. He made his official visit a few weeks ago, when he made a verbal commitment to play for the Tigers. Zajac, a 3.8 student, needed to take an SAT II test to qualify academically, and he got the test out of the way last weekend, clearing his path to those eating clubs.
More importantly than the food, even, Zajac said he hit it off with new Princeton head coach Bob Prier and his staff during his official visit.
Zajac said he also took unofficial visits to Darmouth, Boston College, Union last spring during his trip to the East Coast. He also made an unofficial visit to Wisconsin.
“Last year during spring break instead of going to Hawaii, we went (to the East Coast),” said Zajac, who toured New York City, Boston and Philadelphia. “I liked them all. Each one of the three has a different feel to it.”
The 6-foot-2, 217-pound Zajac is the second Eagan senior to make a college commitment this season. He follows defenseman Eli May, who is headed to Minnesota State. Several more Eagan players, including high-scoring forward Will Merchant, are likely to land at Division I programs.
“We’re all really good friends,” Zajac said. “When it comes to recruiting and stuff, we never really talk about it. Everyone is on their own schedule.”
|Name||High School||Year||Pos.||College||Verbal Commit|
|Spencer Bell||Maple Grove||Senior||F||Wisconsin||Yes|
|Grant Besse||Benilde-St. Margaret's||Junior||F||Wisconsin||Yes|
|Jake Bischoff||Grand Rapids||Junior||D||Minnesota||Yes|
|Andrew Commers||St. Thomas Academy||Senior||F||RPI||Yes|
|Jordan Gross||Maple Grove||Junior||D||Notre Dame||Yes|
|Christian Horn||Benilde-St. Margaret's||Senior||F||Minnesota||Yes|
|Justin Kloos||Lakeville South||Senior||F||Minnesota||Yes|
|Dan Labosky||Benilde-St. Margaret's||Junior||F||Colorado College||Yes|
|Eli May||Eagan||Senior||D||Minnesota State||Yes|
|Judd Peterson||Duluth Marshall||Senior||F||St. Cloud State||Yes|
|Matt Pohlkamp||Brainerd||Senior||F||Bowling Green||Yes|
|Jake Randolph||Duluth East||Senior||F||Nebraska-Omaha||Yes|
|Joe Schuldt||Minnetonka||Senior||D||Michigan Tech||Yes|
|Eric Schurhamer||St. Thomas Academy||Senior||D||Maine||Yes|
|Dylan Steman||Maple Grove||Senior||F||Michigan Tech||Yes|
|Dom Toninato||Duluth East||Senior||F||Minnesota-Duluth||Yes|
|Hunter Warner||Eden Prairie||Sophomore||D||Minnesota State||Yes|