13-year-old Anthony Cipollone commits to NCAA’s University of Vermont

Jared Clinton
Vermont Catamounts logo

Anthony Cipollone won’t be old enough to head to college until 2020-21, but the 13-year-old forward has already committed to play for the NCAA’s University of Vermont.

Cipollone announced that he had committed to the program earlier this week and it appears he could be suiting up as soon as he’s old enough. He won’t be the first in his family to commit to the program, however, as his brother, Joseph, who’s three years Anthony’s elder, committed to the program in January of this year.

It’s not unusual for players to commit to schools years before they’re of age to actually suit up for the programs, but it’s more likely they commit at Joseph’s age, 16, than Anthony’s. That said, it has happened before where a not-yet-high school aged player has committed to a college program. Read more

Memorial Cup hosts land Michael Spacek, chase Brandon Hickey

Michael Spacek (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

The way Red Deer finished the 2014-15 campaign – a five-game, first-round loss to Medicine Hat – you’d be forgiven for wondering how they would turn things around in time to be tough hosts of the Memorial Cup this year. But in a flash of activity, GM and coach Brent Sutter has begun to shake the foundations.

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Matthew Tkachuk and the boys of summer headline The Hot List

Matthew Tkachuk. (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

A Hot List in the middle of summer? Why not? There’s plenty of prospects on the ice right now, what with Canada hosting teams in Calgary and Team USA defending home ice in Lake Placid. From world junior prep to Ivan Hlinka tryouts for Canada’s under-18s, there are some important viewings going on right now for the international squads, so let’s take a look at some of the kids who are standing out so far. Players are listed with their presumed 2015-16 squads.

Matthew Tkachuk, LW – London Knights (OHL)

The exciting thing about Tkachuk is that his star will continue to rise as he continues to grow. Already 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds, Tkachuk showed off his numerous skills in USA White’s 10-4 destruction of Sweden. In fact, Tkachuk had a hat trick in the game.

“I consider myself a power forward and I mix in some skill, too,” Tkachuk said. “My best attribute is my hockey IQ. I use that to get me where I want to be, get to pucks and get around the net, where I am most of the time.”

The son of former NHL great Keith Tkachuk, Matthew has a big hockey family. Jimmy and Kevin Hayes are cousins, while Casey Fitzgerald, his teammate last year with the U.S. National Team Development Program, is a second cousin. Playing for the NTDP seemed like the best career move.

“I just knew it was the best decision for me,” he said. “Seeing all the guys who have moved forward to the NHL – Patrick Kane, Erik Johnson, Jack Johnson, Ryan Kesler – all those good players went there.”

Tkachuk was almost headed to Notre Dame for this season, but signed on with the powerhouse Knights, instead. He’ll go from riding shotgun with top 2016 prospect Auston Matthews at the NTDP to playing with a bevy of huge talents in London such as Christian Dvorak and Mitch Marner. This will be a big development year and Tkachuk already has a role model picked out.

“I watch a lot of James van Riemsdyk,” he said. “I try to play exactly like he does. I’m a pretty big guy, I like to be around the net and I try to mix in some skill.”

Tkachuk wants to work on his quickness, but with such a fast mind, he’s already a handful for opponents. Draft eligible in 2016.

Mitch Marner, RW – London Knights (OHL)

The patience with the puck and the vision to find his man are two aspects of Marner’s game that are so fun to watch – unless you’re an opposing team. The Knights star displayed that in Canada’s 4-1 world junior camp win over Russia on Monday and there’s no reason to suspect the points machine will slow down anytime soon. Drafted fourth overall by Toronto in 2015.

Mikko Rantanen, RW – TPS Turku (Fin.)

Thanks to an out clause in his Finnish contract, Rantanen could come to North America this season and I think he has a shot at the NHL. USA Blue found that out the hard way in Lake Placid as the big, gifted winger thrashed the Yanks for three assists in a 10-3 stomping on Monday. Drafted 10th overall by Colorado in 2015.

Dante Fabbro, D – Penticton Vees (BCHL)

One of two Vees to watch this season alongside center Tyson Jost, Fabbro is a smart, skilled blueliner who doesn’t mind jumping in the rush. His rocket shot netted him a goal for Canada Red in his second under-18 camp game and he had an assist in the other. Fabbro is currently looking at NCAA options. Draft eligible in 2016.

Pierre-Luc Dubois, RW – Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (QMJHL)

The talented winger would have been a great candidate for the list thanks to his overtime winner for Canada White’s second win over Canada Red at the under-18 camp, but there’s more to Dubois. The 6-foot-1, 180-pounder goes to the net, protects the puck and has great playmaking vision. Draft eligible in 2016.

Brock Boeser, RW – University of North Dakota (NCHC)

As I’ve been telling anyone who listens, scoring in the USHL is tough and Boeser was one of the best with Waterloo. Thanks to his hard shot, Sweden learned that the hard way in Lake Placid as the UND recruit threw up a hat trick in a 10-4 devastation of the Tre Kroner. Drafted 23rd overall by Vancouver in 2015.

Carter Hart, G – Everett Silvertips (WHL)

Though Hart doesn’t have ideal NHL size at six-feet tall, the netminder makes up for it with his athleticism and great post-to-post movement. A breakout underage star for the Tips last season, he’s been solid for Canada Red’s under-18 squad so far. Draft eligible in 2016.

Sonny Milano, LW – Flint Firebirds (OHL)

One of the most experienced players at Team USA’s camp, Milano makes his name by dazzling in the offensive zone. Those sick hands and quick feet helped him notch two goals in USA White’s 5-2 win over Finland. Drafted 16th overall by Columbus in 2014.

Julius Nattinen, C – JYP (Fin.)

A big, talented pivot who impressed scouts last season by adding some nice bite to his game, Nattinen had two goals in Finland’s 10-3 bombing of USA Blue. He’ll take on a bigger role with JYP’s top squad in 2015-16, where his puck control skills will be welcome. Drafted 59th overall by Anaheim in 2015.

Rasmus Asplund, C – Farjestad (SHL)

Asplund began to turn heads last season and has brought up comparisons to Henrik Zetterberg thanks to his all-around game. Though he is playing wing for Sweden in Lake Placid, Asplund is good on faceoffs and is dangerous on both special teams. He has two goals and three points through two games. Draft eligible in 2016.

Futures Mailbag: Michael Dal Colle, the realness of Auston Matthews and more

Michael Dal Colle (blue sweater) of the Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Welcome back to the Futures Mailbag, where I will answer any prospect and draft-related questions you the readers may have. If you have a query, hit me up on Twitter (@THNRyanKennedy) and use the hashtag #thnfutures to make sure I scoop it up. If you don’t see your question this week, stay tuned – there’s always some overflow. Let’s get to it:

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Shane Bowers was never going to play for Cape Breton

Ryan Kennedy
Shane Bowers (photo courtesy Vincent Ethier/QMJHL Media)

There was a great deal of drama at this year’s QMJHL draft and the fall-out is still making headlines. Officially, the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles just announced on Wednesday that fourth overall pick Shane Bowers would not be attending training camp. But as I first reported minutes after the selection was made, Bowers was never going to be a Screaming Eagle.

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Public backlash leads University of North Dakota president to reconsider nickname committee’s five-name list

Jared Clinton
Connor Gaarder of Univeristy of North Dakota celebrates a goal at the Frozen Four. (Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

The saga surrounding the University of North Dakota’s nickname saw a new wrinkle this past week when fans were upset not about the removal of the former Fighting Sioux nickname, but by the nickname committee’s decision to remove North Dakota (a.k.a. no nickname) from the list of monikers that would make it to a public vote.

It was announced Tuesday that, by a vote of 7-4, the no nickname option was removed from the list to be submitted for a public vote. Instead, the naming committee submitted Fighting Hawks, Nodaks, North Stars, Roughriders and Sundogs as options to be approved by UND president Robert Kelley.

However, following a public outcry in favor of keeping the athletics department without a formal nickname, that could change. According to the Grand Forks Herald, Kelley, “emailed staff and the UND community,” early Friday morning saying he would consider adding the option to the mix. Read more

How will Lou Lamoriello mesh with the Maple Leafs’ new brain trust?

Kyle Dubas (left) and Mike Babcock (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

You could practically hear the collective hockey world yell “WOW!” when the announcement came. Actually, you just had to log on to Twitter and see the media react to the news that not only had Lou Lamoriello resigned as president of the New Jersey Devils, but that the 72-year-old would be joining the Toronto Maple Leafs as GM.

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University of Michigan alums start menswear line

Ryan Kennedy
Lee Moffie (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

Hockey players typically are not built the same as the average man. ‘Slim fit’ shirts are basically a no-go and the frustration of finding dress shirts that actually fit properly spurned South Carolina Stingrays defenseman Lee Moffie and fellow University of Michigan alum Steve Fischer to do something about it.

That idea became State and Liberty Clothing Co. and with another former Wolverine in Montreal Canadiens prospect Mac Bennett on board, the company has quickly become a favorite throughout the hockey world.

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