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Prep boys hockey: Marshall's Grannis commits to Clarkson

Duluth Marshall's George Grannis controls the puck near Duluth East's Nick Lanigan during the teams' December 2017 game at Heritage Center. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

Two years ago, George Grannis still was stewing after being left off Orono's roster for the Section 2A boys hockey playoffs.

Thursday, Grannis committed to NCAA Division I Clarkson in Potsdam, N.Y.

In between, he transferred to Duluth Marshall, amassed 102 points over two seasons and morphed into a Mr. Hockey finalist this past winter, when the 6-foot center scored 29 goals and assisted on 26 others.

Not a bad outcome for a kid who was relegated to the stands for Orono's two-game postseason in 2016. Grannis admitted the snub left a chip on his shoulder.

"It's different when people who don't know you don't believe in you, but I don't think anyone who knows me ever quit believing in me," Grannis said Thursday night from a hotel room in Ottawa, Ontario, about a 90-mile drive from Potsdam. "I certainly never stopped believing in myself."

Grannis jumpstarted his senior season by scoring 16 goals in the Hilltoppers' first four games. Following Marshall's 17-8-2 finish — the program's best showing in Class AA — he was named to the Associated Press All-State third team.

Grannis' father, David, was an assistant to Hilltoppers coach Brendan Flaherty for more than a decade. An older brother, also named David, played four years at Marshall.

Clarkson, which competes out of the ECAC, was 23-11-6 this season and reached its first NCAA tournament since 2008, falling 1-0 to Providence in an East Regional semifinal. Grannis called the Golden Knights a young squad on the rise, and one he'd prefer to join sooner than later. That, however, is up to Clarkson coach Casey Jones. Whether Grannis, who skated for Bismarck of the North American Hockey League once the Hilltoppers were done, plays one or two years of junior hockey is out of his control.

"As much as I'd like it to be my choice, it's theirs and I trust their decision making," he said. "They know what they're doing."

For now, Grannis is just happy to have his college team solidified — three days after he turned 18, no less.

"It's obviously a dream come true for a Minnesota kid who's dreamed of playing Division I hockey growing up," he said.