College hockey news continues to be released as the Ivy League cancels all winter sports. The Dallas Stars have loaned a former first-round pick to the Finnish Liiga and the University of Minnesota signed two players to a National Letter of Intent.
Ivy League Postpones Winter Sports
Despite that several NCAA divisions have announced a return to play plan for November and December, the Ivy League Council of Presidents has announced that all fall and winter athletic competitions will be cancelled and spring sports will be postponed through February 2021. Of course, this means that hockey won’t return for the ECAC conference which has six teams: Harvard, Dartmouth, Cornell, Yale, Princeton and Brown University.
A joint statement released by the Ivy League Council of Presidents outlines the cancellations and postponement:
Regrettably, the current trends regarding transmission of the COVID-19 virus and subsequent protocols that must be put in place are impeding our strong desire to return to intercollegiate athletics competition in a safe manner. Student-athletes, their families and coaches are again being asked to make enormous sacrifices for the good of public health — and we do not make this decision lightly. While these decisions come with great disappointment and frustration, our commitment to the safety and lasting health of our student-athletes and wider communities must remain our highest priority.
This decision will impact several NHL prospects who play in the conference, but some have already begun playing elsewhere in anticipation of this announcement. Anaheim Ducks prospect Henry Thrun has been playing for the Dubuque Fighting Saints in the United States Hockey League in the meantime. It’ll be interesting to see where other top college players decide to play. Options are limited due to eligibility concerns, so I wouldn’t be surprised if more prospects seek loans to the USHL.
Stars Loan Dellandrea to Finland
The Stars have loaned former first-round pick Ty Dellandrea to JYP Jyväskylä of the Finnish Liiga. Drafted 13th overall in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, he spent the 2019-20 season with the Flint Firebirds in the Ontario Hockey League. He captained the team for the second straight season and amassed 32 goals and 38 assists for 70 points in 47 games played. He represented Canada at the 2020 World Junior Championships winning a gold medal in the process. He managed to record three goals and two assists across seven games in the tournament.
Dellandrea is eligible to head to the American Hockey League for the 2020-21 season. The Toronto, Ontario native played a handful of games in the AHL during the 2018-19 season, registering two goals and one assist in 11 games played. The move to Europe will be a great opportunity for him to develop his game while he awaits the start of the AHL season in February.
The Stars will be without superstar Tyler Seguin to begin the season, so there is a chance that Dellandrea could make his NHL debut sooner rather than later. The expectation is he’ll return to the Stars once training camp opens for the 2020-21 NHL season.
University of Minnesota Sign Two Prospects
On Wednesday, the University of Minnesota signed two top prospects to National Letters of Intent which indicates a student athlete’s commitment to participate in an NCAA program. The first was Montreal Canadiens’ prospect Rhett Pitlick. Drafted 131st overall in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, he spent the 2019-20 season in the USHL with the Omaha Lancers and Muskegon Lumberjacks. In total, he amassed 17 goals and 25 assists for 42 points in 45 games played.
Minnesota also signed Chaz Lucius, a top prospect eligible for the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. He currently plays for USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program and amassed 31 goals and 19 assists for 50 points in 46 games played with the U.S. National U17 Team. Lucius represented Team USA at the U17 World Hockey Challenge, winning a silver medal and leading the tournament in scoring with seven goals and three assists in six games.