Defenseman Brady Skjei, one of the state's top high school juniors, has committed to the Gophers. He called Don Lucia on Monday morning.
Skjei is 6-2, 185 and is expected to join Minnesota for the 2012-13 seasons after two years in Ann Arbor, Mich. He accepted an invitation to join the U.S. national team development program and is leaving for Michigan on Wednesday.
There is orientation activities this coming weekend at Ann Arbor and players will try to settle in before practices start the day after Labor Day. Skjei will play for the 17-and-under team.
Last season for Lakeville North, he had 11 goals and 18 assists for 29 points in 30 games.
"He was kind of ready [to commit]," said Scott Skjei, Brady's father. "He had been to enough schools."
Brady chose the Gophers over Wisconsin. North Dakota finished third. Brady's grandfather, Stan Skjei, was a Gophers football player in the early 1960s. "[Brady] dreamed of playing for the Gophers since he was a little kid," Scott Skjei said.
collegehockey247.com had this report on Skjei after he decided to play in Ann Arbor:
Skjei spent his first two seasons of high school with Lakeville North, in Lakeville, Minn. In 30 games this past year, he notched 11 goals and 18 assists.
"He's a big-timer in the making," said Ryan Rezmierski, USA Hockey's director of player personnel. "He comes from a little bit of an unknown program in Minnesota, but he's a big-time offensive two-way player, a kid that compares to [2010 recruit] Derek Forbort. He's big, has huge hands and huge feet and is an elite skater and an elite mover of the puck; he will create some offense.
"He's just as good without the puck as with it. His stick details are outstanding. The kid was a stud football player too so he's an athlete, and the family really pushed for this because they understand Brady needs the NTDP to really reach that next level. I fully expect that he will blossom into a top pick [in the NHL Draft] before he's done with us."