On Thursday, CC received a verbal commitment from Tim Hall, making him the fifth forward for the 2008-09 recruiting class.
Hall, a native of Sewickley, Pa., had 31 points (17 goals, 14 assists) last season with the Ohio Junior Blue Jackets of the United States Hockey League, despite being one of the youngest players in the league. In August, Hall, 17, competed with the U.S. under-18 select team in the Memorial of Ivan Hlinka tournament played in the Czech Republic. Hall also received recruiting interest from Miami (Ohio), Michigan State, Boston University and New Hampshire.
Hall's coach, Don Harkins, compares him to Patrick Kane, the no. 1 overall pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, and Andy McDonald of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. "He doesn't have Billy Sweatt-type of speed, but he's fast and he's a crafty player," Harkins said Friday. "He played as a 16-year-old and didn't sustain any injuries. He's pretty elusive. He knows how to not get himself lined up."
Q. How did your first season in the USHL go?
It was a great learning experience for me. I started out kind of slow. I wasn't used to how fast the game was. The players were a lot faster and stronger and there's less time on the ice. But I progressed as the year went on and I felt more comfortable out there. We had some tough games there and the wins didn't always come easily but, in the end, we came together as a team.
Q. Your coach said he started you out as a third-line center but by midseason, you were the top center. How did that happen?
It probably took till Christmas to work myself up to the top two lines. I felt like I was the top center after Christmas time. My linemates were playing well. It took some time to get there, but it was a good learning experience because I was never put in a third-line role before. I had to work through it and not let anything distract me and stay positive. It was my goal going in to be a contributor on the team and put up good numbers but I didn't expect to have the year I did coming in as a young player in the league. It was a really rewarding experience because I really took the time and worked hard in practice and in the weight room. I stayed after practice to work on my shot and stickhandle.
Q. Were you expecting to make a commitment this early in your senior year and hoping to go to college on time?
I was hoping that I would come in as a true freshman, but it really all depends on my development. I was hoping to commit to a school, well, right now, and then I knew I'd be able to go in as an '08. Now I can just go out and play this year. I dont think the pressure will be off because I'm always putting pressure on myself to improve on my game. But I will be able to focus on improving everyday and will not have to worry about talking to schools.
Q. What do you expect out of this season?
I just want to build up from last season. You're only as good as your last game. I'm going to go out every game and try to be the best player I can be. I want to put away the distractions and the pressure of being a second-year player and having to produce those type of points. I want to try to help lead my team and help the team win as many games as possible. I'm not going to be the most vocal guy in the locker room because I'm not the oldest, but I'm going to try to lead by example on the ice -- working hard every shift and competing out there, doing all of the little things right.
Q. At 5-foot-8 and 165 pounds, what kind of style do you have to play?
I always try to keep my feet moving and look for open space on the ice. If I'm constantly moving, it is hard for people to line me up or be physical. I have had to learn to be really strong on my skates. It's hard to knock me off the puck. As the saying goes, 'It's how big your heart is.' I try to go out there every day and work hard. It forces me to work harder because I feel like I have to work that much harder than the guy next to me, who might be bigger or stronger.
Q. What attracted you to Colorado College and what other schools were in the mix?
With CC, they showed how I would fit in so well. The big ice surface will be a factor because there's a lot of space out there for me to move and create plays and have good scoring chances. I remember watching Sertich and Sterling play and it really did help me with my decision. I really loved the coaching staff, they were great all along and they knew what kind of player I was from the beginning and they always wanted me. When I was out on my visit, I got to meet with a lot of the players and they're good character guys. I got to meet with coach Owens first, we had lunch together. Then I got to meet with professors and they told me about the block plan and how I could really do well at it. The final decision came down to three schools BU, Michigan State and Colorado College. I wanted to go to a school where I knew they really wanted me and I would come in and hopefully be an impact player for them. I also looked at the style of play a player like me where would I fit in best. Academics were important to me and my family. CC is a great liberal arts school.
Q. Which players did you meet when you were out here in July?
A good bunch of the guys were working out over the summer. I met Nate Prosser and Matt Overman for just a minute or so in the weight room. I met some of the incoming recruits, they came up and introduced themselves to me. I
Q. When did you first start talking with the CC coaching staff?
They were watching me all last year and I was in touch with Norm Bazin. I kept in touch and kept them up to date where I was at. I felt that it was going to be one of my top choices because of the great program and the awesome league and the success that they've had recently.