Mr. Hockey Finalists Announced

The Minnesota Minute Men announced their Top Ten candidates for the 28th Annual Mr. Hockey Award.

In alphabetical order, they are: Justin Kloos (Lakeville South), Will Merchant (Eagan), Grant Opperman (Breck School), Judd Peterson (Duluth Marshall), Jake Randolph (Duluth East), Charlie Sampair (Hill-Murray), Eric Schurhamer (Saint Thomas Academy), Jared Thomas (Hermantown), Dom Toninato (Duluth East) and Michael Zajac (Eagan).

The Minute Men also announced the two finalists for the Frank Brimsek Award, given to the state’s top senior goaltender: Michael Bitzer (Moorhead) and Kyle Koop (Maple Grove).

By my count, eight of those 12 players have committed to Division I schools: Kloos (Minnesota), Opperman (Dartmouth), Peterson (St. Cloud State), Randolph (Nebraska Omaha), Schurhamer (Maine), Thomas (Minnesota Duluth), Toninato (Minnesota Duluth) and Zajac (Princeton).

For the second straight year, the Gophers have only one recruit among the 10 finalists, although several players could commit there at any time. The last four Mr. Hockey winners attended Minnesota: Aaron Ness (2008), Nick Leddy (2009), Nick Bjugstad (2010) and Kyle Rau (2011).

The Mr. Hockey Awards Banquet will be held at noon on Sunday, March 11 at the Grand Ballroom of RiverCentre. As always, it will follow State Championship Saturday at Xcel Energy Center.

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