Verbal commit from top recruit

Ryan Flynn, a highly recruited forward, verbally committed to Minnesota.

Chris Lempesis

Ryan Flynn, considered one of the top college hockey recruits in the nation, verbally committed to play for the Minnesota’s men’s hockey team 2006-07 season on Friday.

Flynn, a 6-3, 212 lb. forward playing for the U.S. National Under-18 team in Ann Arbor, Mich., said he informed Gophers coach Don Lucia of his decision Thursday night.

“I’m really pumped about it,” Flynn, a native of Lino Lakes, said by telephone. “I’ve always, growing up, watched the Gophers, and ever since I’ve been a little kid, that’s been one of my dreams, is to play for the Gophers and play for the maroon and gold. It’s just a dream come true for me. I’m really happy about it.”

Flynn said he had whittled his list of potential schools to three: Minnesota, Wisconsin and Boston College.

“BC was kind of the one that (recruited me) the earliest,” he said. “So I was really, really considering BC. I was really close to going to BC, I would say. Wisconsin and Minnesota were both battling out because they were closer to home, but I’d say if I was going to go anywhere besides Minnesota, it probably would’ve been BC.”

Flynn played for the U.S. National Under-17 team, also based out of Ann Arbor, last season. He said missing his junior and senior years of high school has been tough and the chance to play so close to home definitely factored into his decision.

“(When) it came down to the decision and it really hit me that that’s what I wanted to do: to come play for the Gophers,” Flynn said. “And play in front of my peers that I’ve been away from the last two years playing out in Ann Arbor.”

Added Flynn’s father, Jim, in a separate phone conversation Friday: “Every kid that plays Minnesota hockey has wanted to be a Gopher from the time they were squirts on up. So I think that had a big influence on it.”

Flynn totaled 10 goals and eight assists (18 points) in 36 games for the U-17 team last season. In five games with the U-18 team this year, he has three goals and two assists (five points) in five games.

Flynn said Lucia, his future head coach, was pleased by his decision.

“He was happy about it,” Flynn said. “He said it was good news, so, I’m looking forward to playing for him.”