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Eagan's Merchant commits to Maine

By Loren Nelson, MN Hockey Hub editor, 02/12/12, 11:51PM CST


Senior forward joins teammate Sam Wolfe in accepting scholarship offer from Black Bears

Eagan senior Will Merchant, the Wildcats' leading goal scorer, has committe to play at Maine. Photo by Helen Nelson

Will Merchant

Will Merchant is a realist.
He understands the time demands of playing NCAA Division I hockey. The way the Eagan senior forward sees it, playing 1,600 miles away in Maine won’t be all that different than sticking closer to home.
“Anywhere I go, I am going to be stuck there for the same amount of time,” said Merchant, who over the weekend committed to play for the Black Bears.


Sam Wolfe

 “No matter where you are, you are going to get your Christmas break or your Thanksgiving break, and that’s about it.”
That means no trips home to enjoy mom’s home cooking or in-house laundry service.
“That would be nice, though,” Merchant said with a laugh.
Merchant’s commitment to Maine follows that of Wildcats teammate Sam Wolfe, a senior defenseman who earlier in the week made a verbal commitment to play for the Black Bears.
“It’s nice having Will going there,” Wolfe said. “We’ve been teammates since like Mites. He lives like 5 minutes away from me.”
Wolfe and Merchant said there wasn’t a coordinated effort for the pair to end up at the same school. They took separate recruiting trips, with Merchant attending the Black Bears’ 4-3 overtime victory over Boston College on Jan. 20. Wolfe’s trip included Maine’s 4-3 overtime win over Alabama-Huntsville on Feb. 3.
 “I don’t think either of us were sure we were going to go there,” Wolfe said. 
Added Merchant: “I knew he was talking to them, but that didn’t really influence me that much.”

Eagan senior defenseman Sam Wolfe has commited to play at Maine, where he will join Wildcats teammate Will Merchant. Photo by Helen Nelson

One of 10 finalists for this season’s Mr. Hockey Award, Merchant leads the No. 3-ranked Wildcats (20-2-1) with 22 goals in 23 games. His 42 points ties him for second behind senior forward Nick Kuchera’s 45.
Merchant and Wolfe join teammates Eli May (Minnesota State) and Michael Zajac (Princeton) as Division I commitments. St. Thomas Academy senior defenseman Eric Schurhamer also has committed to play at Maine.
Zajac, Wolfe and Schurhamer all played for regular season champion Team Southeast in the Upper Midwest High School Elite League this fall.
“It’s a relief to get this out of the way,” said Merchant, who turned down a scholarship offer from Michigan Tech and also made an unofficial visit to Bemidji State. “It’s coming down to our last year, and we have a good team. 
“We’re not worrying about what we are doing next year, we are worrying about the playoffs. Now I can just worry about playing for the team.”
Wolfe, who has two goals and 22 assists in 23 games, received interest from Ohio State, Holy Cross and Alaska–Fairbanks.
“This takes a lot of weight off my shoulders, the stress and all that,” Wolfe said. “Now I can just focus on the end of the season and the playoffs. 
“I can’t wait for it.”

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2011-12 Minnesota High School Division I Recruits

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
Michael Brodzinski Blaine Junior D Minnesota Yes
Andrew Commers St. Thomas Academy Senior F RPI Yes
Jordan Gross Maple Grove Junior D Notre Dame Yes
Jake Guentzel Hill-Murray Junior F Nebraska-Omaha Yes
Blake Heinrich Hill-Murray Junior D Minnesota-Duluth Yes
Christian Horn Benilde-St. Margaret's Senior F Minnesota Yes
Adam Johnson Hibbing Junior F Minnesota-Duluth Yes
Justin Kloos Lakeville South Senior F Minnesota Yes
Dan Labosky Benilde-St. Margaret's Junior F Colorado College Yes
Vinni Lettieri Minnetonka Junior F Minnesota Yes
Eli May Eagan Senior D Minnesota State Yes
Will Merchant Eagan Senior F Maine Yes
Lou Nanne Edina Junior F Minnesota Yes
Grant Opperman Breck Senior F Dartmouth 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
Charlie Sampair Hill-Murray Senior F Minnesota-Duluth 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
Jared Thomas Hermantown Senior F Minnesota-Duluth Yes
Dom Toninato Duluth East Senior F Minnesota-Duluth Yes
Hunter Warner Eden Prairie Sophomore D Minnesota State Yes
Sam Wolfe Eagan Senior D Maine Yes
Michael Zajac Eagan Senior F Princeton Yes