Michigan State goalie Drew DeRidder to transfer to UND
The former U.S. National Team Development Program netminder spent four seasons with the Spartans.
GRAND FORKS — Drew DeRidder spent the last four years at Michigan State.
The goaltender from Fenton, Mich., had personal success, posting a .916 career save percentage in 70 games and twice earning all-Big Ten honorable mention.
Team success didn't follow. The Spartans finished last place in the Big Ten three times and second-to-last once.
With one year of college eligibility left, DeRidder decided he wanted to experience some team success.
"I loved my time here at Michigan State," DeRidder said. "I wouldn't trade it for the world. It wasn't going the way I wanted it to, or the way anyone wanted it to, for that matter. I wanted to go somewhere where we'd win some hockey games. My last year, I wanted to go to a solidified program and be able to help them win hockey games."
DeRidder decided three-time defending Penrose Cup champion UND is the place to do that.
After a whirlwind recruiting process, DeRidder has given a verbal commitment to play for the Fighting Hawks next season.
DeRidder will fill the roster spot of Zach Driscoll, who transferred from Bemidji State to UND for his fifth year and finished as runner-up for NCHC goalie of the year.
DeRidder figures to compete with Jakob Hellsten, an NCHC all-rookie team selection this season, for time in UND's net. The other two netminders on UND's roster — junior Harrison Feeney and rookie Kaleb Johnson — have yet to start a college game.
"It's one hell of a team," DeRidder said. "UND has always been known for that. It's always a top-tier program. I'm planning on continuing that next year."
DeRidder is a smaller goalie at 5-foot-11, 180 pounds, but he has thrived in college hockey. As a freshman, he was the youngest goalie in the country and posted a .906 save percentage, earning all-Big Ten freshman team honors.
As a sophomore, John Lethemon took over the primary starting job for the Spartans, but DeRidder reclaimed that spot as a junior and senior, posting .923 and .918 save percentages.
DeRidder entered the NCAA transfer portal on March 9 — four days after Michigan State's season ended.
"It was a little hectic for a couple days," he said. "I knew I would get some interest, but I was kind of surprised by how much. It was a good feeling to look down at the phone and see some of the teams that called and texted. Just to have someone like UND interested in you is a big honor."
DeRidder did not make a visit to campus — the coaching staff gave him a tour on Zoom — but he's been to UND before.
He played against the Fighting Hawks in an exhibition game as a member of the U.S. Under-18 Team on Dec. 30, 2017. UND won the game 5-2.
"It's a beautiful place," DeRidder said. "I don't really remember the campus or anything but it's hard to forget that rink."
UND's 2021-22 season concluded Thursday with a 2-1 overtime loss to Notre Dame in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The Fighting Hawks figure to have a bulk of their roster back for next season, when they'll chase a fourth-straight Penrose Cup as NCHC champs and a ninth NCAA national title.
"I'm really excited," DeRidder said. "I'm honored to be a part of the program."