Updated: March 13, 2012 at 12:00 am
Jared Hanson isn’t Jaden Schwartz. Not even close. But like Schwartz, he’s a playmaker, and next season, he’ll occupy the roster spot vacated by Schwartz at Colorado College.
The Tigers have scored a verbal commitment from Hanson, a right wing with the Lincoln (Neb.) Stars of the U.S. Hockey League whose rapid rise makes him ready for the college game. It takes away at least some of the sting of the departure of Schwartz, the team’s top point producer who signed an entry-level contract Monday with the St. Louis Blues.
Hanson, 19, of Palmer, Alaska, has 22 goals and 21 assists in 44 games, with four game-winning goals, six multiple-goal games and two hat tricks to go with 53 penalty minutes and a plus-27 rating. They’re numbers that are even more impressive considering that last season, he had just 24 points, with 104 penalty minutes and a plus-12 rating in 53 games.
Those who have watched Hanson in person note he plays bigger than you would think, as he’s only 6-foot and 190 pounds. And he’s capable of getting his nose dirty in the corners and crashing hard to the net. He’s also described as a clutch player, as someone who’s at his best in important games. Lincoln coach Chad Johnson said, “Jared’s a great example of someone who has worked himself into a complete hockey player,” adding that Hanson “leads by example, is a great team guy and scores big goals in crucial times.”
Chances are Hanson will receive immediate playing time at CC, with Schwartz gone and three senior forwards graduating in David Civitarese, Nick Dineen and Tim Hall. Hanson chose CC over Harvard, Northeastern, Ohio State, Penn State and St. Cloud State, since “the hockey program is one of the best in the country annually,” Hanson told the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman. “The coaching staff is great, not to mention great academics. It was kind of an easy decision for me.” Plus, he told the Wasilla, Alaska, newspaper, “I wanted to be in a good conference. There’s a lot of great competition and an opportunity to get better, as well as play in front of tons of scouts from every pro league in the world.”
Of the 10 other players committed to CC, three should join the Tigers next season – right wing Matt Hansen of the Austin (Minn.) Bruins of the North American Hockey League, left wing Hunter Fejes of Shattuck-St. Mary’s High School in Minnesota and defenseman Michael King of the Lloydminster Bobcats of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. CC had 28 players this season, yet it probably won’t carry that many again. Right now, there are 25 players slated for the roster, so a recruit could be brought in early if Schwartz’s older brother, Rylan, turns professional or if Dakota Eveland (upper-body injury) can’t return.
COLORADO COLLEGE RECRUITS
Garrett Cecere, defenseman, Janesville Jets (NAHL)
Hunter Fejes, left wing, Shattuck-St. Mary’s (Minnesota H.S.)
Matt Hansen, right wing, Austin Bruins (NAHL)
Jared Hanson, right wing, Lincoln Stars (USHL)
Christian Heil, center, Chicago Steel (USHL)
Michael King, defenseman, Lloydminster Bobcats (AJHL)
Daniel Labosky, left wing, Benilde-St. Margaret’s (Minnesota H.S.)
Duggie Lagrone, defenseman, Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL)
Gustav Olofsson, defenseman, Green Bay Gamblers (USHL)
Alex Roos, right wing, Chicago Steel (USHL)
Jaccob Slavin, defenseman, Chicago Steel (USHL)
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