Following a simply startling announcement by the NCAA that “prospective players can now only be recruited by still photographs,” Minnesota’s men’s hockey team has released the photo of its first prospect; Willie Skaatewel of the Stoughton (Wis.) Stars.
A husky forward with no apparent speed but an ability to bang in garbage points in front of the net, Skaatewel tallied just two goals and 14 assists last season. But he looked damn good doing it.
Wisconsin, Boston College, Slippery Rock, Oral Roberts and Quinnipiac have also accessed his photo.
Though coaches cannot comment on or watch the young guns, they can look at as many photos as they please. Gophers coach Don Lucia was reportedly seen in the newly developed NCAA photo log furiously flipping through pictorials. He murmured only “must look at photosÖ. must look at photos now” as he passed reporters yesterday.
However, one coach ñ Colorado College’s Ron Jeremy ñ did immorally comment on Skaatewel.
“He’s obviously a player,” Jeremy said. “You can tell by the grip on his stick.”
Jeremy will be fined a staggering amount.
The NCAA ruling stems from several incidents in which coaches were spending 20 hours per day traveling from game to game watching young prospects tear up the ice against poor, unfortunate crap players.
Some college teams (Colgate, Bemidji State and RPI) worried their smaller travel budgets hampered chances at landing the big names. They instead were stuck with the crap ones.
Minnesota’s three captains, Johnny Pohl, Jordan Leopold and Grant Potulny held a news conference to mark the first-ever photo prospect. While all three were open and honest about the situation, their opinions on Skaatewel’s presence differed.
“I’m not sure how much he’ll play but he’ll definitely help us off the ice in terms of the female attraction to this team, that’s for sure,” said Pohl, who will officially change his name to ‘J.P.’ at season’s end. “He’s one of the photo prospects we’ve heard a lot about. He plays hard on the ice but goes even harder off – if you know what I mean.
“He kind of looks like a hard-ass, even with that baby face, but I’ll bet if he gets here he’ll show some of our guys the better side of Minneapolis.”
Skaatewel is currently under contract with Bauer equipment and wears Vic gloves. Leopold, a former Vic aficionado, was impressed with Skaatewel’s choice of attire. But the All-American wasn’t too thrilled with the green and gold colors of Skaatewel’s former team.
“He’s got some Sioux-like characteristics with those colors,” Leopold said. “I don’t know about that. But it is Christmas time, maybe we can swing some presents or something.
“He doesn’t look like he’d score many goals, but maybe he can bang some heads. Regardless, he’d be out there in Bauer stuff, and we need that.”
Potulny, a fellow out-of-state recruit, was not impressed.
The question was proposed to Potulny what he thought Skaatewel would bring to the team. Potulny thought about it, took another hard look at the photo and then answered:
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