College hockey: Meland picks Princeton
Choosing where to play college hockey wasn't easy for Eric Meland. "UND's the top hockey program in the country. . . . Princeton has the top academics in the country," Meland said. "It was a hard decision." But this week Meland decided a chance t...
Choosing where to play college hockey wasn't easy for Eric Meland.
"UND's the top hockey program in the country. . . . Princeton has the top academics in the country," Meland said. "It was a hard decision."
But this week Meland decided a chance to attend the Ivy League school was too good to pass up. The former Grand Forks Red River forward confirmed Tuesday that he has given a verbal commitment to play at Division I Princeton.
"It's very exciting, but it was hard to give up the childhood dream to play for the Sioux," said Meland, who led Red River to a North Dakota state hockey championship as a junior. "Princeton has both a great hockey program and great academics.
"I got (to Lincoln) and talked to people who I trust here. We just decided Princeton would be the best fit for me."
The Tigers play in the Eastern College Athletic Conference. Princeton finished 21-14 last season, losing to UND in the NCAA Midwest Region semifinals in Madison, Wis.
Meland, who graduated from Red River last spring, begins regular-season play with the Lincoln Stars of the United States Hockey League on Friday. He plans to join Princeton's hockey team in fall 2009.
"Princeton was excited about me playing my first year there," Meland said. "That was a big part of my decision."
So were academics. In high school, Meland scored a 34 on his ACT exam, ranking him in the top 1 percentile of those who take it. He also shared the No. 1 academic ranking in his senior class of 288.
Meland also excelled on the ice. As a high school senior, he led the state in scoring with 45 goals and 35 assists. He led his team to three straight state championship games.
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