Breck's Wheeler Commits To U

Blake Wheeler is only a high school junior, but he is already catching the eye of NHL scouts. But before that he will play for the Minnesota Gophers. The speedy Wheeler gave a verbal commitment over the weekend.

One of the most exciting high school hockey players in the state of Minnesota this past season gave a verbal commitment to the Gophers over the weekend.

Blake Wheeler of Breck announced his intentions to play for Don Lucia and company Saturday after an unofficial visit to the U. Wheeler will be a senior next year at the private Minneapolis school.

"The biggest factor was having the opportunity to play in front of the whole state and my family," the junior forward told the Minnesota Daily. "Just staying home."

Wheeler led Breck to the Class A state championship in March, scoring six goals and five assists in three state tournament games. Wheeler scored 100 points during the season, including 45 goals and 55 assists. He scored four goals in a game twice, three goals in a game three times, and two goals seven times. Wheeler scored a goal in 26 of 30 games this season and had nine games with three assists or more, including one game with five assists, and one game with four assists.

Wheeler picked the Gophers over Boston College. Minnesota recently lost a potential recruit to the Eagles when Canadian star Daniel Bertram committed to BC.

"I'm obviously biased, but I think they've got the best high school player in the state, junior or senior," Breck coach Wally Chapman told the Daily. "He's a big kid, and he's still growing."

It still isn't clear whether or not Wheeler will follow the paths of numerous current and future Gophers and spend a year getting bigger and stronger in the USHL before coming to the U. He also might spend part or all of his senior season of high school playing in the developmental league. It could still be two years before Wheeler puts on a Gophers uniform, but when he does, he could make an immediate impact.

Gophers coaches are not allowed to commit on a recruit until he officially signs a letter of intent.

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