Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Karson Kuhlman Latest Local Hockey Star Headed to UMD

UMD has done quite well as of late when it comes to bringing in top local players. This year's crop of freshmen includes former Duluth East defenseman Andy Welinski, who could be the best rookie blue-liner in the WCHA. He joined UMD after two seasons with the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers, where he helped the team to a Clark Cup title.

Hibbing forward Adam Johnson committed to UMD during the 2010 state tournament, at which he helped Hibbing on a surprising run to the semifinals. Hermantown's Jared Thomas and Duluth East's Dom Toninato committed last season, and all three should be a part of the Bulldogs by 2014.

Now, you can add another local player to the stable of future Bulldogs.

Cloquet/Esko/Carlton forward Karson Kuhlman committed to UMD Tuesday afternoon, one day after receiving a scholarship offer. Kuhlman is a junior this year, and will be a big part of what should be an improved Lumberjacks team.

Kuhlman confirmed his commitment via Twitter. A source indicated he is likely a 2015 Bulldog, meaning he'll be able to finish his high school career and play a year of juniors. Kuhlman has played in the USHL already, getting five games in with the Dubuque Fighting Saints last spring (four assists).

It's another local win for Scott Sandelin and his staff. Looking at the list of recruits coming in -- a group that includes Hill-Murray defenseman Blake Heinrich, Shattuck defenseman Willie Raskob, Canadian forward Brett Boehm, and U.S. Under 18 forward Kyle Osterberg -- it seems that the future for UMD is bright.

National championships help in recruiting, no doubt. But we have to also give a nod to all those who helped make Amsoil Arena possible. It's as wonderful a venue as you're going to find in college hockey, and the opportunity to walk a kid through that place -- even if it's not a game night -- is a huge advantage.

It's also nice to see comments like the one from Kuhlman in Wednesday's Duluth News Tribune.

“When you grow up 12 minutes away, it’s always been something that I wanted to do,” Kuhlman said. “I slept on it for one night and I felt I was ready. This fit everything we were looking for.”

A kid who wants to be a Bulldog, pretty much from birth. Now Karson Kuhlman fulfills a dream. We're all looking forward to seeing what happens next.

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