UND lands big recruit
The best 1991-born Minnesota hockey player according to USA Hockey committed to UND on Wednesday night. Nick Mattson, a 16-year-old sophomore defenseman from Chanhassen, Minn., called the Sioux coaching staff and told them he will play for them b...
The best 1991-born Minnesota hockey player according to USA Hockey committed to UND on Wednesday night.
Nick Mattson, a 16-year-old sophomore defenseman from Chanhassen, Minn., called the Sioux coaching staff and told them he will play for them beginning in 2010.
"North Dakota kind of matches my personality," Mattson said. "I'm a small town kid. I just really felt comfortable with the coaching staff and facilities. I had a chance to meet some of the guys when I visited there, asked them some questions, and everyone seemed to love it."
Mattson was one of the top players for Chaska High School as a freshman last season. His play earned him an invitation to join the U.S. National Team Development Program. Mattson was the only Minnesota-born player for his age to earn an invite, which he accepted.
The 6-foot-1 and 170 pound player describes himself as an offensive, puck-moving defenseman. He tallied five goals and 15 assists for 20 points in 25 games for Chaska last season, sending recruiters his way.
He had offers from top schools around the country, choosing UND over Minnesota and Wisconsin.
"This is the biggest relief I've ever felt in my life," Mattson said. "I had a long time to think about it. It's something I've really been thinking about all the time for the past five months. It feels really, really good to have it done with."
He joins a crop of several Twin Cities-area players who have committed to UND for future years, including Holy Angels forward Danny Mattson -- but there is no relation between the two.
The early signing period opened Wednesday, but only current seniors will sign letters of intent, so Mattson won't be inking anything yet. He turned 16 just three weeks ago and is believed to be the youngest player ever to commit to UND.
"I have a ton of things to work on to get to where I want to be," Mattson said. "It's nice to get this (commitment) out of the way, so I can focus on my game."