Mario Lucia is enjoying himself at the Wild's prospects camp this week despite having to answer the same question repeatedly.

Everyone asks Mario, the the son of Gophers coach Don Lucia, where he will attend college in 2012-13? His final three choices have long been the Gophers, Notre Dame and Colorado College.

The 6-2 left wing, drafted by the Wild in the second round of last month's NHL entry draft, said he will make his decision within a few days after the Wild camp ends Sunday.

But Tuesday, after his first on-ice practice at Wild camp at the X, Lucia dropped a hint. "I like Notre Dame the most, but we'll see," Lucia said. "I feel a little bit more comfortable there."

Don Lucia was a defenseman for the Irish.

What about the Gophers? "It's a tough spot," Mario Lucia said. "Pros and cons, playing for your dad is tough. You are always going to be the coach's kid. Wherever [else] I go, if I go out, I will start my own name at Notre Dame or CC, which will be nice."

All three of his prospective colleges are going to change conferences in two years. The Gophers will be in the Big Ten Conference in 2013-14, Colorado College in the new super conference and the Irish either in the super conference or the Big East.

But Mario Lucia is not worried about those teams swtiching conferences.

"The team [I pick] is not going to change the way they play," he said. "They are going to develop me regardless. I've talked to Notre Dame and they've told me they are probably going to move into that super conference. Wherever I go, I will become a better player."

The Wild, obviously, hope so.

Their coaches got a close-up look at him on the ice Tuesday as he and 17 other players on the White team skated for about an hour.

"It was just fun," Lucia said afterward. "It is an honor basically. I am the youngest guy here. Just good experience for me. I am just getting my feet wet."

Lucia turns 18 on August 25. The second youngest player is goalie Stephen Michalek, born 19 days earlier. The oldest prospect is Chay Genoway, a defenseman who played for North Dakota last season. Genoway is 24.

"Obviously, you grow up watching [games] hereand coming to the games," Lucia said. "It's different when you are out on the ice. I haven't had a chance to skate here much, but it is fun. It is a lot higher pace, the passes are harder. But it's easy to adjust to though. That's why [the Wild] picked me. I am a good player and I will be able to adjust to this."


"I've got a lot of time before I am ready to play in the NHL," Lucia said. "It is just fun to be around the guys and see who these guys are and meet them and get a chance to talk to them and skate with them."

Lucia played for Wayzata High School last season, but won't return to the Trojans as a senior. Instead he will report to the Penticton Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League in late August.

The Vees will be a team loaded with Minnesotans, perhaps as many as nine or 10, according to a team representative. The roster already has seven, including defensman Mike Reilly of Shattuck-St. Mary's and forward Steve Fogarty of Edina High School.

"It is going to be an easier transition going forward," said Lucia, who could have played for Des Moines of the USHL. "The home sickness won't be there as much because I am good buddies with Mikey and Steven."

Between the Wild camp and the Vees preseason camp, Lucia said he will be a kid. "[This is my] last summer basically. And then I have to go to summer school next year," Lucia said. "[This year I] will just have fun with my friends, work out and skate and do all that. Just be a kid for a little while."

Next month he also will become an uncle -- and Don a grandfather. One of his sisters, Jessica, is expecting a baby girl on Aug. 15.