Wednesday, November 29, 2006

How We Got Ben Blood.

Sioux get verbal from Shattucks Saint Marry Star.
In case you haven't seen it here is a Link I found from the UMD's penatly box. I was really impressed with the lengths UND goes to recruit players. We just don't take them out to center ice and ask them to sign like some has suggested.

Why am I impressed, UND signed a big time star in defenseman Ben Blood, he is 6’3” and you might say he is one of the big pieces to an NCAA title, I would call him a deal maker, the icing on the cake. I just hope we get to see him play more than two years and hopefully he becomes a part of a NCAA championship. This signing also proves how great recruiters Dave Hakstol and his staff really are. While some in the blogosphere were questioning his in coming class for next season. Some of us knew that the 2007-2008 class was a work in progress. This message speaks volumes of the type of hockey program UND has up in Grand Forks, ND. I always hear Goofer fans sneer about how UND is a bunch of Hacks and its a second rate program and who we are referred to as the Sue. This pretty much debunks all of those claims. Its an explanation of what happens when a recruit comes to UND.

Penatly Box

Here is the story on Blood. Not to pour salt on the wound, but at least the first part about what they do... Say this for North Dakota: It doesn't rest on its laurels.

Yes it has, arguably, the most stunning building in all of college hockey. Yes it has a tremendous winning tradition, and yes, it sends many top talents to the NHL. But ask 17 year-old Shattuck St. Mary's senior defenseman Ben Blood, and he'll tell you the Fighting Sioux just don't open their doors and expect young recruits to simply say yes.

"When I took my official visit last weekend, my family and I were just blown away over how prepared they were," explains Blood, a native of Plymouth, Minnesota. "They really put effort into it. Not that the other schools I was considering didn't, but when I was there (in Grand Forks), they had an itinerary all mapped out for me.

I had a pre-game meal with the players, watched video, and met with the assistant coaches several times. They really kept the focus on me," adds Blood. "Then I had breakfast with all the coaches, (including head coach Dave Hakstol), and that's when they made me an offer." Offer made, offer accepted. Blood will join the Fighting Sioux next September, or no later than the fall after that. "They sold me, and that's why I'm going there," says Blood, who shoots left, and stands at 6-2 and 212 pounds.

"But even more than that, the guys are just tremendous there. They all have great character, and you see all the players that came before me, (Zach) Parise, (Drew) Stafford and alike. I knew I wanted to be a part of it, and perhaps one day become one of their players who make it to the NHL." Though highly ranked on many scouting lists--he's an A prospect per NHL Central Scouting, and 128th overall by Red Line Report-- Blood says he's keeping his focus on self improvement, and moreover, the team.

"Team is what we're taught more than anything else at Shattuck, and most of that goes to coach (Tom) Ward," says Blood. "Being here has helped me mature, become more of a man, and taught me the importance of being a team player." Blood is in his third season at Shattuck. Two years ago, a broken left leg limited him to about 30 games in his first season. "That was one of the hardest times of my life," Blood admits, "I couldn't do anything for almost four months, but I was determined to come back as best as I could." He has. An offensive minded and physical type, Blood has seven goals, 14 points and 70 PIMs in 21 games thus far this year.

"I think I'm a physical player, a decent skater with a better than average shot," says Blood in self-assessment, "what I really need to work on is my foot speed." While at summer hockey camp, Blood worked almost three hours a day on shooting. That type of effort, be it in season or off-season, is evenly matched by what he's done in school. A 3.4 GPA student, Blood's learned that success in the classroom usually translates into success on the ice.

"Coach Ward always says he can tell which guys are struggling academically by how they play and how they practice," Blood explains. "If things aren't going well off the ice, that can easily reflect on what happens once you get to the rink." What parent wouldn't be proud of that! "It isn't cheap, but sending him to Shattuck was the best thing we could have done," beams Mike Blood, Ben's father. "It's been an excellent experience for him, and for us. Shattuck's challenged him academically, he's made great friendships, and the hockey atmosphere is second to none." Aside from Ben, the middle child, Mike and Carol Blood also have two daughters, one of whom, Erin, is a junior blue liner at Boston College. Last Saturday, Erin scored the game-winning goal in a 5-4 holiday tournament victory over Wayne State. "I've always been proud and looked up to her," says brother Ben. "When she committed to Boston College, I thought, that's just what I want to do, play college hockey."

Blood also considered schools like Minnesota, Minnesota-Duluth and St. Cloud. As for North Dakota, if he doesn't join the Sioux next fall, he'll likely play a year in Des Moines, which holds his USHL rights. "Everyone's told me not to worry about it and just focus on the team," says Blood. "If it's next year, fine, but if not, that's ok too. All I have to do is keep working hard, and things I'm sure will work out."


  1. Goonster-I think you're a closeted Maverick Fan:) Just admit it!!

  2. "Though highly ranked on many scouting lists--he's an A prospect per NHL Central Scouting, and 128th overall by Red Line Report"

    That would make him a fourth round draft pick not exactly two year material more like four year. Especially, when you consider most of the Gophers Freshman this year were drafted in First round of thirty players.


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