Of the many services offered within our program, player advancement is definitely one of the highlights and a proud point among our staff. Many of the young athletes that we work with have serious long-terms goals set for themselves and are willing to do whatever it takes to reach them. For lots of talented youth and high school players, their goals include the opportunity to play at competitive levels in junior, college, and even professional hockey. While the development of physical tools is essential for any athlete to reach these levels, our staff constantly offers insight and knowledge about the many paths to get there. Here are three individuals who recently declared their verbal commitments to Division 1 schools. While this is only one step in the process, it is an amazing accomplishment. Each of these players have put in countless hours into their development with the MAP over the years and will continue to make efforts towards their growth moving forward. While all of these young men know how to make it happen on the ice, their impact in the locker room and on the bench is equally as impressive. These three have all been incredibly positive influences on the culture within our building at the South Campus, as well their perspective regular season locker rooms.
ROMAN AHCAN, FORWARD, BURNSVILLE HS
COLLEGE COMMITMENT: UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN
Roman is coming off of a monster senior season with the Blaze to cap off a successful high school career. His 51 points in 25 regular season games were good enough for a team lead, but Roman's impact on the ice extends much further than his offensive upside. A truly competitive athlete who brings a consistent amount of awareness and toughness to the defensive side of the game, Roman has embraced his versatile identity since he was young. Due to his grit and effectiveness in the corners, Roman was arguably one of the toughest forwards to play against in the state this past season. Bringing so many different elements to the ice on a regular basis always makes for an attractive prospect. And Wisconsin jumped a great one that can fit into many different spots of their lineup. Roman will be entering his first year of junior hockey in 2017-18, either in the USHL or NAHL. You can bet that with a resumé of attributes like Roman's, he will be a strong fit on any junior team that takes him.
ANDY CARROLL, DEFENSEMAN, ABERDEEN WINGS (NAHL)
COLLEGE COMMITMENT: MINNESOTA STATE-MANKATO
Andy's success story is a great one for young players to be aware of. A talented but undersized defenseman, the Northfield HS grad was an effective player in high school but had only scratch the surface of his potential. And only posting 12 points (4 goals, 8 assists) during his senior year wasn't going to deter Andy from pursuing his dreams. He continued to make sizable improvements to his game and found a great fit in his first season after high school with the Sioux Falls Jr. Stampede AAA U18 team. The midget major level of play and challenging travel schedule offered an amazing opportunity for a player who wasn't quite ready to make an impact at a competitive junior level. Fast-forward to this current season, where Andy has flourished with the Aberdeen Wings of the NAHL, posting 5 goals and 30 assists through 49 games (team lead among all defensemen) and an impressive plus-20 (team lead). 'Patience' is definitely a virtue for late-bloomers in this sport, and Andy's has paid off dramatically up to this point.
MARKO REIFENBERGER, FORWARD, BLOOMINGTON THUNDER (USHL)
COLLEGE COMMITMENT: UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS-AMHERST
Marko's verbal commitment came back in December, an early Christmas present of sorts, but has created buzz all winter among the MAP community. The Hill-Murray HS product and Hastings, MN native has put plenty of work into his craft and has maintained a steady level of growth for the past several years. Marko is another forward of great versatility as both an effective offensive weapon and formidable defensive presence. After posting up solid point totals with the Pioneers in 2014-15 (35 points as a sophomore) and 2015-16 (30 points as a junior), Marko made the big jump to the USHL this year with Bloomington. While his point total has not been astronomical, the power forward continues to make an impact on the ice with effective forechecking and a strong compete level without the puck. Marko will be returning to another season of juniors in 2017-18 to further aid his growth before jumping into the college ranks.