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NCAA D-I Northeastern emerges as the next stop for Selanne

 

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A college hockey seminar in Southern California a few years ago opened Eetu Selanne’s eyes to the possibilities for his future.

The seeds that were planted over that weekend yielded the former Anaheim Jr. Ducks and Los Angeles Jr. Kings player enough interest from NCAA Division I colleges that he committed to Northeastern University (Hockey East) last month.

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“I’m super stoked,” said the late 1997 birth year, now with the United States Hockey League’s (USHL) Madison Capitols. “My first coach with the Jr. Kings (Louis Pacella) was big into college hockey. An assistant from Northeastern came to one of his camps and talked to me. I didn’t have a lot of contact with them again until our USHL showcase in Pittsburgh (in September). They asked me to visit.

“Everything I wanted in a school was there.”

The 5-foot-10, 189-pound center has developed into a well-rounded player, two of his former California coaches say.

“He really came into his own playing 18s – he started to understand how good of a player he could be,” Jr. Kings coach Jack Bowkus said. “He matured as a player, and he’s a guy who consistently does everything pretty well.”

Craig Johnson coached Selanne at Santa Margarita Catholic High School.

“He saw how hard his dad (Teemu) prepared for games and seasons late in his career,” Johnson said. “That motivated him to work on his own game. I noticed a big change when he took hockey more seriously. He is able to play both sides of the puck and has a solid 200-foot game.”

Selanne relishes his time in California, which also included winning a USA Hockey high school national championship at Santa Margarita.

“The Ducks organization was great in every aspect, and the Kings gave me an opportunity to see how I could compete against the best in the Tier 1 (Elite Hockey League),” he said. “Jack was so good to me and so supportive. And Craig helped me in so many ways.”

Photo/Hickling Images

— Chris Bayee