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Canadian defenseman commits to Minnesota Duluth

Jarod Hilderman didn't take long to make his decision when the Minnesota Duluth men's hockey team offered him a scholarship Monday morning. He accepted right away. "They were the first team to contact me," Hilderman, a 16-year-old first-year defe...

Jarod Hilderman
Jarod Hilderman, a 16-year-old first-year defenseman for the Penticton Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League, orally committed Monday, Sept. 9, 2013, to play college hockey for the Bulldogs beginning in 2016.

Jarod Hilderman didn't take long to make his decision when the Minnesota Duluth men's hockey team offered him a scholarship Monday morning.

He accepted right away.

"They were the first team to contact me," Hilderman, a 16-year-old first-year defenseman for the Penticton Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League, said by telephone Tuesday. "Before they called me, I had created a wish list in my head and they were really high up on that list.

"It was pretty much a no-brainer when they offered me a scholarship."

His oral commitment is for the 2016-17 season.

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Hilderman, who is from the small town of Kamsack, Saskatchewan, played Midget AA hockey last season in Wilcox, Saskatchewan, scoring 10 goals and registering 20 assists in 31 games for Notre Dame. He's two games into his first season with the Vees, who have a history of sending players to UMD such as Brett Hull, T.J. Caig and current defenseman Derik Johnson.

Going the college route wasn't Hilderman's initial plan, but he wasn't drafted by any major-junior teams.

"I wasn't following any American schools leading up to this," the 6-foot-1, 195-pounder said. "Growing up, I thought I would go the major-junior route but I didn't get drafted.

"But I'm happy that I got it over with quick to go to a great school like UMD. Getting that scholarship was like the cherry on top."

Former Wisconsin-Superior player Fred Harbinson is the president, general manager and coach of the Vees. Though Harbinson could not be reached for comment, he did express excitement on the Vees' website about coaching Hilderman for the next three years.

"This is a great day for Jarod and his family," said Harbinson, who was named BCHL coach of the year in 2012 after leading the Vees to 42 consecutive victories and their first RBC Cup championship in 26 years. "Jarod has worked extremely hard for this opportunity and our coaching staff looks forward to helping prepare him for the NCAA level."

In six seasons under Harbinson, 18 NHL draft picks have played for the Vees and 73 players have committed to NCAA Division I schools.

Hilderman is attending Penticton High School and his mother, Maureen Humeniuk, moved there to establish residency as league rules prohibit 16-year-olds from moving from province to province on their own.

Related Topics: HOCKEY
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