Thursday, April 10, 2014

College Hockey Recruits Getting Younger

This week, rumor spread of a barely 14 year-old Norwegian hockey player accepting a scholarship offer from Denver University. This turns out not to have been true*. But even if it had been, it would not have set any records for the youngest college hockey commitment. That honor goes to Oliver Wahlstrom who committed to Maine as a 13 year-old 7th grader earlier this year.

The debate over recruiting children more than four years removed from college will continue as long as loopholes in NCAA rules permit the practice. The phenomenon certainly isn't limited to college hockey either. In fact, all scholarship sponsored college athletic programs (women's and men's) have been known to recruit a youngster here and there. Football's youngest commitment was also 13. Women's soccer has offered 13-year-old players too.

I'll stay out of the debate but still provide the data. Based on information from Chris Heisenberg's current and past recruit lists, below are the thirteen youngest players to have accepted a men's D1 college hockey scholarship offer. Based on available data, this list should include every commitment made by a player under the age of fifteen.

Anthony Cipollone - 13y/2m/11d - Vermont
Oliver Wahlstrom - 13y/6m/28d - Maine
Mathias Emelio Petterson - 14y/0m/5d - Denver
Jake Goldowski - 14y/4m/7d - Penn State
Blade Jenkins - 14y/5m/7d - Michigan
Cam Askew - 14y/6m/5d - Boston University
Connor Anthoine - 14y/6m/7d - Vermont
Liam Pecararo - 14y/7m/8d - Maine
Cayden Primeau - 14y/7m/19d - Northeastern
Jon Merrill - 14y/8m/7d - Michigan
Jacob Pivonka - 14y/8m/7d - Notre Dame
Noah Hanafin - 14y/9m/0d - Boston College
Mikey Anderson - 14y/9m/12d - Minnesota-Duluth
Brannon McManus - 14y/9m/22d - Minnesota
Joel Farabee - 14y/9m/24d - New Hampshire
Keith Petruzzelli - 14y/10m/8d - Quinnipiac
Thomas Forgoine - 14y/10m/11d - Vermont
Brady Smith - 14y/10m/21d - Wisconsin
Casey Fitzgerald - 14/10m/29d - Boston College
Joey Anderson - 14y/11m/7d - Minnesota-Duluth
Mark Friedman - 14y/11m/13d - Bowling Green

Thus far, only one player on this list (Jon Merrill) has actually played D1 college hockey. Cam Askew opted to play in the QMJHL. Connor Anthoine ended up playing D3 hockey instead. The rest are still in committed to their respective programs.

*UPDATED 8/6/15 - EMP commitment possibly still true

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