Catching up on few player movements in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, all connected to the Minnesota Gophers.
Former St. Thomas Academy forward Ryan Walters, 18, of Rosemount, Minn., had made a commitment to Minnesota and has played two seasons in the U.S. Hockey League. Yet when the Gophers said they weren't ready for Walters in 2010-11, he gave up his commitment and this week joined Nebraska-Omaha's recruiting class as Omaha begins play in the WCHA. A story on Walters and his change of heart was in Tuesday's Omaha World-Herald here. Walters indicated he visited Nebraska-Omaha and Colorado College recently.
One quote from Walters: “(Minnesota) didn’t have any room for me coming in, and they didn’t like how I play. I play with a chippy style, and that’s not the Gopher style. They wanted me to change that aspect, but that’s how I am as a player and it’s how I’ve played my whole life — I like to get in people’s faces and stir the pot a bit. They’re still a great program, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t think I can change my game this late in my career.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune college hockey beat writer Roman Augustoviz also has this update on Gophers recruit Jake Youso, a forward from International Falls:
Jake Youso signed with Minnesota in November 2008, but may never play for the Gophers. He's played two years of juniors, one at Des Moines, one at Owatonna, and the Gophers still have don't have a spot from him.
His father, Brian, said Jake will probably make a decision in about a month whether to stay committed to Minnesota or look at other colleges.
Youso realizes he has to play juniors this season, but isn't sure where. He may try out with a few USHL teams rather than return to the Owatonna Express in the North American Hockey League, although that is a possiblity, too. Brian Youso said that Jake's younger brother, Matt, a 6-2, 197-pound defenseman will play for Owatonna this season.
The Star Tribune also reports two Gopher recruiting additions for 2011-12 -- center Kyle Rau of Eden Prairie, Minn., and goalie Joel Vienneau of Hearst, Ontario.
Rau, 5-foot-9 and 165 pounds, had 77 points for Eden Prairie High School in 2009-10 and is reported to have also considered Denver and North Dakota.
Vienneau played with Kingston in the Ontario Hockey League in 2009-10 and had a 27-4-1 record and marks of 2.16 goals-against average and .928 save percentage. He'll play this season with Muskegon (Mich.), a U.S. Hockey League expansion team.