Shattuck keeps up elite trend

first_imgFrom the right, Jordy Murray, Derek Stepan, Ben Grotting and Jamie McBain are products of Shattuck-St. Mary\’s prep school.[/media-credit]When it comes to hockey, it’s tough to find a school that has produced more notable alumni than Shattuck-St. Mary’s.Jonathan and David Toews. Zach and Jordan Parise. Ryan Duncan. Kyle Okposo.And some guy named Sidney Crosby.But there’s a handful of graduates from the prep school in Faribault, Minn., that Badger fans might know a bit better.Jamie McBain. Ben Grotting. Jordy Murray. Derek Stepan.The juniors McBain and Grotting and freshmen Murray and Stepan were all products of one of the country’s biggest hockey factories. But what exactly separates Shattuck from the rest of the pack?“Everything,” Tom Ward, director of hockey and the head coach of the boy’s prep team said. “It’s part of our culture here. We’ve got a student body of about 400 kids, and almost 200 of them play hockey. It is an everyday thing here at our school, from nutrition to strength and conditioning to ice time to all different things that go along with being an athlete and a student-athlete.”More specifically, the number of games the teams play and minutes they log on the ice far exceed any high school team — and even most college programs. Last season’s Sabres prep team played 62 games, and students are on the ice five to seven days a week.By comparison, this year’s Badger squad will play just 36 regular-season games.“Instead of playing two games in a weekend, you’re playing three or four in a tournament and then maybe playing a game midweek,” Grotting said.“You have to somehow get yourself ready to go every night,” Stepan said. “There’s some very good, tough competition because everyone always gets fired up to play Shattuck.”However, playing as many games as Shattuck’s teams do helps its players prepare for the next level both physically and mentally.“Competition may not be quite as strong, but anytime you’re playing 70 games, obviously it’s going to prepare you for the future and making sure that you’re in shape enough to play that many games in a row,” McBain said.But the grind of a long season — which includes bussing to every road game and tournament — certainly helps build team chemistry. It also doesn’t hurt that teammates see each other often off the ice, as they live in the same dorms together.“I think a big part is our team chemistry,” Murray said. “When you live with the guys in the dorms and you’re always around them in classes and at nights and on the bus trips, it’s a huge part.”All in the familyFor some, attending Shattuck is a no-brainer. Murray’s father, Andy, now the head coach of the St. Louis Blues, coached at Shattuck. His older brother Brady and sister Sarah were also Sabres. There was just no way around it for the youngest Murray.“I knew I was going to Shattuck,” Jordy said.But Jordy chose a different path after graduating from Shattuck. Brady attended North Dakota and now plays for the Los Angeles Kings. Sarah went on to play for the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs.“I’ve always liked Wisconsin,” Jordy said. “My brother went to North Dakota. I talked to him a little bit, but I never really wanted to follow my brother. My sister went to UMD. I didn’t want to go there really. I was thinking WCHA, definitely. I grew up watching college hockey and the WCHA.” Current Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves also has family ties to the Shattuck-St. Mary program. His brother, Murray, is the head coach of the Midget AAA boy’s team. The Wisconsin coach also coached the prep team there from 1994 to 1996.Having his brother there, however, has not necessarily equated with recruits signing with the Badgers — especially since Murray played for the Michigan Wolverines.“I don’t think it hurts at all, because obviously Murray and Mike are close,” Ward said. “Their family’s close. Patrick and Ben Eaves, Mike’s boys, still live in town. … We consider Mike a former Sabre himself and a good friend. He’s got a good thing to sell over there with Badger hockey.”Since Murray Eaves doesn’t coach the prep team, Mike and his coaching staff may not be eyeing the kids his brother coaches. But that’s not to say Murray won’t give him any help.“I’ll make specific questions and ask him. He’ll share his opinion,” the UW coach said. “He can give us some insight, but the real insight comes from watching the kids play and talking to their head coach.”Regardless of whether his brother has coached them or not, Mike Eaves and other college hockey coaches naturally turn to Shattuck as a hockey hotbed when on the recruiting trail.“It’s got a great tradition, so people are looking to go to a place like that in terms of, ‘Where can I send my kid to combine both a pretty good academic program and follow their dreams as a hockey player?’” Eaves said. “Good players seek that place out and see if it will work out for them.”For Grotting, family played a big part in his decision to attend Shattuck as well. A Birmingham, Ala., native, Grotting had relatives in the Twin Cities area, less than an hour from Faribault.“I looked at a lot of East Coast prep schools, and I looked at Shattuck in the Midwest. Pretty much it came down to I have a bunch of family in Minneapolis,” Grotting said. “Being as young as I was after the eighth grade, going to Minnesota all the way from Alabama, I wanted to have some family close by.“Obviously the hockey is the main factor that took me there, but just having family there helped.”Not all fun and gamesAs much a part of everyday life that hockey is at Shattuck, the college prep school is just that: preparation for the next stage. For students at SSM, that includes the classroom too — something that can become tough to juggle with nearly 70 games a year.“The first month was real tough,” said Stepan, who moved from Hastings, Minn., as a high school junior to attend Shattuck. “It was something I really needed to adapt to, being away from home, without your mom and dad to say ‘Get your homework done.’”“It was tough at the start,” Murray added. “My first couple years, I struggled a little bit in middle school. … I think it sort of helped in the transition from high school and college, for sure.”It wasn’t all fun and games on the ice, either, for Grotting. In four years at Shattuck, Grotting was never able to get a spot on the top Sabres prep team.“I always enjoyed the teams I was on,” Grotting said. “I would have loved to play on the prep team after being there for four years, but just couldn’t crack the lineup.”And unlike McBain, Murray and Stepan, Grotting didn’t take the direct path from Shattuck to Wisconsin. He found a home on a few minor league teams before drawing interest from the Badger coaching staff.“I had no college interest coming out of Shattuck,” Grotting said. “I ended up signing a tender with the Texas Tornado in the NAHL and played a year down there, then was drafted by the Lincoln Stars in the USHL. I played a year there. That’s where Wisconsin noticed me.”Life-long connectionsStudents at Shattuck see each other often, as the average class boasts just 14 students. But for those playing hockey, the time spent together becomes even greater.“The one thing about the people that come out of there, when you live in the dorms as a high school student, there’s a brotherhood that gets established,” Eaves said.“Being such a small school, you know everyone and you get real close with your buddies,” Stepan said. “You see them every day. It’s something special. The environment’s pretty much the key element.”The friendships established at Shattuck don’t end at graduation. Players keep in touch with each other — often times facing off at the next level — and coaches are sure to keep tabs on their former players.“It’s a great fraternity and sorority we have with our kids,” Ward said. “It’s very rewarding, and all of us here at our school — people that work in the kitchen, the ladies in the head office of the school, the teachers, the rest of the student body — we’re all very, very proud of the kids that have moved on from here and keep tabs on them.”“A lot of them go back over the summer to work at different camps, so it gives us a chance to reconnect,” McBain said. “As much as you can, you try to keep in touch with them during the season. A lot of them you’re actually playing against.”Not all Shattuck graduates go on to play after graduating, but they never lose the camaraderie from their playing days.“All my best friends there are still my best friends today, hands down,” Grotting said. “A lot of them are still playing hockey; a lot of them aren’t. That’s just the way life goes.”last_img read more

Syracuse ranked No. 13 in College Football Playoff rankings

first_imgSyracuse (7-2, 4-2 Atlantic Coast) rose to No. 13 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings following a 41-24 victory over Wake Forest in Winston-Salem on Saturday.Prior to Saturday’s win, Syracuse entered the week ranked No. 19 in the playoff rankings and No. 22 in the AP Poll, the team’s first ranking since 2001. The Orange maintained its spot as the second-highest ranked team in the ACC, behind No. 2 Clemson.Seven teams ranked ahead of Syracuse lost this week, including four within the 10-20 rankings, who each suffered their third loss of the season. On Sunday, Syracuse was elevated to No. 13 in the AP Poll.Syracuse opened as a 21.5-point favorite over Louisville (2-7, 0-6), whom the Orange will face at home this Saturday in search of their eighth win of the year. The last time SU was 8-2 was in 2001, when SU won eight-straight after starting the season 0-2. AdvertisementThis is placeholder text Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 6, 2018 at 9:35 pm Contact Matt: mdliberm@syr.edulast_img read more