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UND MEN'S HOCKEY: UND lands Omaha recruit

Chris Wilkie grew up in Omaha, but didn't feel any pressure to choose the hometown team when it came to picking a college. "I think everyone wanted me to make my own decision and do whatever I thought was best for myself," Wilkie said. The Omaha ...

Chris Wilkie grew up in Omaha, but didn't feel any pressure to choose the hometown team when it came to picking a college.

"I think everyone wanted me to make my own decision and do whatever I thought was best for myself," Wilkie said.

The Omaha forward made that decision late last week and picked UND.

The 1996-born forward who currently plays for the Omaha Lancers U16 team is projected to come to Grand Forks in 2014.

"I visited there over Thanksgiving," Wilkie said. "After seeing everything that's there, I loved it right away. The coaches are great, the facilities are great. . . it was a pretty easy decision for me."

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Wilkie is a skilled forward who leads his team with 46 goals, 69 assists and 115 points in 45 games. He also had interest from Minnesota, Minnesota-Duluth, Michigan, Nebraska-Omaha and Penn State.

Wilkie was a fourth-round pick by Victoria in the Western Hockey League, but says he's set on college hockey.

"College hockey is better suited for my game so I can develop every year," Wilkie said. "I think UND is one of the best, if not the best, college in the country to play hockey at."

Wilkie's father, David, was a first-round pick of the Montreal Canadiens in 1992. He played six years in the NHL for the Canadiens, Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers.

Chris currently is 5-foot-11, 175-pounds, but his father is 6-foot-3, 215, so the young Wilkie may still be growing.

Next season, Wilkie will either play for the National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich., or in the United States Hockey League.

"He's a skilled offensive player," said David, who coaches the Omaha U16 team. "He can skate, he has incredible sense and feel for the game. He can control the pace of an entire game.

"I think he's going to be a bit of a late physical developer and I think his style of game is more suited for the NCAA. It will give him a chance to develop his strength."

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Reach Schlossman at (701) 780-1129; (800) 477-6572, ext. 129; or send e-mail to bschlossman@gfherald.com .

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