EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (WCCO) — To be as successful as the Eden Prairie hockey program has been over the years, it takes a team effort.
It also doesn’t hurt to have a senior player like Kyle Rau, a “Mr. Hockey” candidate who tallied 77 points last season. But up until Monday evening, Rau had considered leaving Eden Prairie to go play junior hockey in Sioux Falls.
The decision was difficult for Rau, and it may have something to do with college. He has committed to the Gophers, and most college coaches prefer that a player of his caliber forgo their senior season to play juniors. The belief is that there is more ice time and competition.
Kevin Gorg is a hockey analyst for KFAN radio.
“I think a lot of kids, when they leave early, don’t realize what they are missing out on,” said Gorg.
Gorg is an advocate for staying in school. He says year after year, Minnesota high schools lose elite hockey players to juniors, but Gorg doesn’t think it has to be that way. He applauds Rau’s decision to stay at Eden Prairie, but thinks the Minnesota High School League has to offer more in order to compete with junior hockey leagues.
“I think the High School League has to be a little bit more aggressive. You don’t need to lengthen it month-wise, but if you add five games throughout the season and go from 25 to 30, that’s a good thing. If you go from 17-minute periods to 20-minute periods, that also is a good thing. These are things that juniors offer that high school doesn’t,” said Gorg.
Rau said that the chance to be a captain at Eden Prairie and play with his twin brother and childhood teammates won over in the end.