Making a college commitment before turning 16 wasn’t a goal for forward Kyle Osterberg, but he got a good feeling about Minnesota Duluth during a campus visit last Saturday and accepted a hockey scholarship offer Sunday.
“I liked everything about what I saw. I liked the campus, it wasn’t big and it wasn’t small. I liked the new rink and I know the atmosphere there will be great. I liked the coaching staff,” Osterberg, who was a freshman at Lakeville (Minn.) South High School in 2009-10, said Thursday. “Everything made me feel at home.”
After just one varsity season, and leading his team in scoring, Osterberg joins the U.S. National Team Development Program this week in Ann Arbor, Mich. He plans to be there for two years, this season with the Under 17 team, and possibly be at UMD by 2012-13 with the help of an accelerated academic schedule. If another development season is needed, he would likely play for Omaha in the U.S. Hockey League and arrive in Duluth in 2013-14.
On Sunday, Osterberg turns 16 as he enters his sophomore year. He had 19 goals and 44 assists in 2009-10 for 63 points in 28 games while playing in the Lake Conference as Minnesota’s top-scoring ninth grader. He was a right winger on a line with sophomores Justin Kloos and Alex Harvey and the threesome combined for 156 points for a Lakeville South team that lost to Lakeville North 5-0 in the Section 1AA title game.
“Kyle’s greatest gifts are his vision and drive,” said Lakeville South coach Kurt Weber, whose team was 18-10 last season after going 10-17 the year before. “He’s very motivated, very gifted, he’s a playmaker and he rises to the challenge. He played on a great line and all three of those players can think so far ahead of the game. Every one of their goals was the result of three or four passes, and sometimes seven.”
Osterberg, 5-foot-7 1/2 and 165 pounds and a natural center, said he received interest from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Colorado College, and had a scholarship offer from Ohio State, where former UMD assistant Steve Rohlik is in his first season as an associate head coach. He’s an A student who also played ninth-grade football and baseball in 2009-10. An older brother, Zach, was a Lakeville South senior forward last season.
“Going to the (USA Hockey program) is something I’ve always dreamed about, but the only other thing I’d wish for, is that our high school line could’ve stayed together. We had such great chemistry,” said Osterberg.
Osterberg had two goals and two assists last month in four games for the USA U17 team at the Five Nations tournament in Huttwil, Switzerland. The Americans went 3-1.