|Shore and Forbort at Kings camp (photo: C. Ikiri)
There’s no denying the growing impact of U.S. college hockey on the NHL.
And the LA Kings have been ahead of the curve in recent years, with a plethora of former student athletes on their roster.
Heck, on defense Drew Doughty is the odd man out, as everybody else went the college route – Matt Greene (North Dakota), Jack Johnson (Michigan), Alec Martinez (Miami-Ohio), Willie Mitchell (Clarkson) and Rob Scuderi (Boston College).
The Kings have been stocking up on those type of players at the NHL Draft as well, with five of their 11 selections over the past two years already committed to going the NCAA route.
Later this afternoon, the top two prospects from that pool will be featured on television.
Defenseman Derek Forbort – the Kings first round pick from 2010 – and his North Dakota teammates will host the University of Maine 5:30 pm PST on Fox College Sports (channel 617 on DirecTV). Forbort is coming off a big weekend last week, having scored the first goal of his NCAA career. For those unfamiliar with him, he was also a member of the Team USA’s squad that won a bronze medal at last winter’s World Junior Championship (WJC). North Dakota are ranked sixth in the country, Maine is #16.
Today’s big college hockey match-up will start an hour earlier on the CBS Sports Network (channel 613 on DirecTV), when #3-ranked Denver travels to #1-ranked Boston College. The Kings third round pick at last June’s draft, Nick Shore, is one of the top centers for the Denver team. Earlier this summer, he attended the Team USA evaluation camp for the 2012 WJC and spoke exclusively with MayorsManor about his experience in an article linked below.
Next weekend, Forbort and team travel to Wisconsin to take on Michael Mersch (2011 Kings draft pick) and the Badgers. Then, the following weekend, they’ll be home to play Kevin Gravel (Kings 2010 selection) and St. Cloud State.
At the end of February, North Dakota will play at Denver, in one of the most anticipated regular season games of the season. Can Forbort and the Sioux defense shut down Shore and the Pioneer offense? Ah come on, there’s plenty of hockey to play between now and then.