Brad Elliott Schlossman
Schlossman is in his 13th year covering college hockey for the Herald. In 2016 and 2018, he was named the top beat writer in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He also was the NCHC's inaugural Media Excellence Award winner in 2018. Schlossman has voted in the national college hockey poll since 2007 and has served as a member of the Hobey Baker and Patty Kazmaier Award committees.
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R?yan Duncan stepped to the podium in 2007, accepted the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, but not his place in UND hockey history. "I look at Tony Hrkac," he said then, "as the only other player from North Dakota to win the award. He had 116 points. I had 57. He had more than twice as many as me. So, I don't think I can be put in the same company as that." Comparisons between Duncan and Hrkac were inevitable.
UND coach Dave Hakstol says he's heard a lot of talk about "the NHL stealing players from college" during the past few summers. Sure, college hockey is losing underclassmen in record numbers, but that's not the way he looks at it. "It's something that we should celebrate," Hakstol said, speaking at the team's annual media day. "We had two players who decided to move on before graudation, after their junior year. They were ready to go. Both of them were great members of our program and were excited about being part of that development. "T.J.
Chay Genoway went from a solid player to one of the elite defensemen in the league. Chris VandeVelde went from a guy who spent a couple games as a healthy scratch to a first-line player and an all-league candidate. If the UND men's hockey team plans to contend for its first Western Collegiate Hockey Association title since 2004, the Sioux are going to need their sophomores to take steps similar to the ones Genoway and VandeVelde made last season. "Our sophomore class, especially in the first half of the year," coach Dave Hakstol says, "could differentiate us from being a good team or being
UND defenseman recruit Joe Gleason put together a big senior season at Edina (Minn.) High School. His numbers: 31 games, 10 goals, 33 assists and a plus-66 rating. People took notice and he racked up honors. He was a Mr. Hockey finalist and was named all-conference, all-state tournament team, St.
UND recruit Brett Bruneteau took a punch from a guy he calls the heavyweight champion of the league. And just like that, his promising hockey career was in doubt. The punch, which occurred during a fight in juniors, knocked Bruneteau out and, he suffered a Grade Three concussion -- one step below a coma. Three months after the incident, he still had blurred vision and constant headaches. Some doctors told him to give up hockey. "Honestly, it was probably one of the hardest things I've gone through in life," said Bruneteau, who had two previous concussions.
Their names were called early and often. A total of six UND recruits were selected in the NHL draft in June. No college hockey program had more players taken in the seven-round event. Three of them are on campus now -- forwards David Toews and Brett Hextall and defenseman Corey Fienhage. The other three won't come until next season. They are forward Danny Kristo and defensemen Andrew MacWilliam and Joe Gleason. Kristo was taken the highest.
Chris Porter took a blistering slap shot in the foot last winter, leaving it bruised and fractured. If he had his way, the streak would have been over. "If I could have, I would have sat out the next game," said the former UND captain, who was playing with the Peoria Rivermen in the American Hockey League. "The way things happened, guys were sick and other guys couldn't play, so I did my best to play.
The Zajac family hockey path -- play midgets in Winnipeg, juniors in Salmon Arm and college at UND -- is about to be broken. The third Zajac brother, 20-year-old Kelly, is enrolled at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., and he'll play forward for the Dutchmen beginning this month. He will be the first of four hockey-playing brothers not to play for the Sioux. The oldest, Travis, was a Sioux standout from 2004-06. He finished second on the team in scoring twice before moving on to the NHL's New Jersey Devils. The second Zajac son, Darcy, is a junior on this year's Sioux team.
Hunter Bishop left UND in December 2006, midway through his freshman year. He wasn't playing a lot -- only four times in the team's first 16 games -- and he figured his ice time wouldn't increase much in the next two seasons. So, Bishop went back to his junior team, the Vernon Vipers of the British Columbia Hockey League, while he searched for a better collegiate fit. The Fairbanks, Alaska, native hopes that Ohio State is it. Bishop has enrolled at the Central Collegiate Hockey Association school and will resume his hockey career next weekend when the Buckeyes take on Miami-Ohio. "I feel
UND's annual roadblock doesn't look like it's going anywhere. Boston College, the team that's defeated the Sioux in three consecutive Frozen Four semifinals, has been ranked No. 1 in the USA Today preseason poll.