All the talk this week is about football recruiting. But Monday was a huge recruiting day in college hockey for that team with no nickname: North Dakota.
UND got commitments from forwards Adam Tambellini of Vernon of the BCHL and Bryn Chyzyk of Fargo of the USHL.
Tambelllini is the son of Edmonton Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini. He visited Grand Forks when the Gophers played there on Jan. 13.
Chyzyk has 20 goals and 31 points for the Force. He will join UND next season. Tambellini, 17, is coming to Grand Forks in 2013-14 after another season in the BCHL. Tambellini has 20 goals and 38 points for the Vipers.
But UND coach Dave Hakstol was not so pleased about his team's recruiting success on Jan. 13, when he appeared at a UND boosters luncheon at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks.
A four-column headline in the Grand Forks Herald's sports cover two days earlier had this headline: Prized recruit bails.
Stefan Matteau, the leading scorer on the under-18 U.S. team, had changed his mind. He was going to play for Blainville-Boisbriand Armada of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League instead of UND next season. He signed his national letter of intent in November, but BBA traded for his rights this month of one of their coaches is his father.
UND also lost J.T. Miller, who also had signed a national letter of intent, last July. He went to the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League.
Even though it was Minnesota week in Fargo, Hakstol spend a good deal of time talking about recruiting to the several hundred people at the luncheon. And he appears ready to lead a coaches' charge to weaken the CHL's ability to keep recruiting signed players.
"We lost a recruit this week," Hakstol said. "I don't want to talk about the young man and the family. I don't think that is a classy thing to do. Those things remain where they belong, and that is behind closed doors.
"We lost a pretty good potential player to our program. We lost one last summer as well. My mentality right now -- there is a good recruiting battle. It is fun when you get into recruiting battles with Wisconsin, Boston College, Michigan, with Duluth, with Minnesota.
"You go into those things and you are fully armed with the things you do well. And you can tell your story. Kids make good decisions after they take time to find the right spot for them.
"Now we have a second recruiting battle with the CHL," Hakstol said. "We are going in with our hands absolutely tied behind our backs. It's a one-way battle. We are not able to go up and recruit those players. [If] the CHL can get a young man to play one game or not even to play a game, just sign a contract. That player can no longer play college hockey.
"[But] they can come down here and from the age of 14, 15 through 19, 20, they can recruit the talent coming into college hockey."
NCAA rules prohibit college coaches from contacting recruits until June 15 after their sophomore season.
"I have been really down the middle of the road on this for a long time," Hakstol said. "I am getting to the side where, it is time for our coaches' body to seriously consider opening up major junior because all of a sudden, I think the recruiting battle maybe tilts a little bit our way.
"I believe in our product. I think college hockey is a great way to develop, not only as a hockey player but you develop into the young man that is going to be successful the rest of your life.
"I am pretty sure right now Cary [Eades], Dane [Jackson], myself and the rest of our staff could go up somewhere in the CHL, somewhere across Canada, and recruit a pretty darn good 18-year-old to come in and replace the young man that we just lost this past week."
Of course, NCAA rules would not permit Hakstol and his assistants to sign anyone who has a CHL contract.
"It is certainly not a crusade of mine, but it is something I want to seriously start talking about," Hakstol said. "So that is something that has been discussed, but something that I am going to bring to the forefront just a little bit. Just so that when you get into a recruiting battle, you actually have a chance to come out on the right side.
"That is something that is going to be interesting over the next couple of years. Not in the short term, but over the next couple of years for our coaching body."
Paul Kelly, executive director of College Hockey Inc., according to a Grand Forks Herald story, is tring to enact some sort of legistlation that would block players who have signed national letters of intent to go to the CHL until after one season of college hockey.
The CHL vs. NCAA recruiting battle hasn't affected the Gophers much. They don't recruit Canadian players as much as UND does.
* Gophers sophomore Nate Condon needs one more shorthanded goal to tie the single-season school record of five. Steve Griffith had five shorties in 1982-83 as did Peter Hankinson in 1989-90.
Condon almost got his fifth last Friday against St. Cloud State but his shot hit a post with about 1:20 left.
* The WCHA would have only three teams in the NCAA field if the tournament was starting today because of the conference's poor record in nonconference games against the CCHA (10-14-1) and Hockey East (5-7-3).
* The Gophers were cleaning up on national (three) and conference (four) awards in October and November, but since have only one. Defenseman Mark Alt was named the WCHA's offensive player of the week on Dec. 13.
* In preseason polls, the Gophers were rated No. 19 by USCHO.com and unranked by USA Today which only ranks 15 teams. They have been in the top 10 in both polls since Oct. 17, in other words for 15 consecutive weeks.