Khodorenko will stay in Michigan, commits to Michigan State
Michigan has agreed with Patrick Khodorenko, so much that the forward from Walnut Creek made a verbal commitment to play college hockey at Michigan State University recently.
Khodorenko, who has skated for the U.S. National Team Development Program (NTDP) in Ann Arbor and Plymouth, Mich., the past two seasons after playing Midget 16U AAA for Detroit Honeybaked, cited several factors in his decision, not the least of which was his fondness for the area and familiarity with several of his future teammates and classmates.
“A bunch of kids from my high school are here and some kids from my Honeybaked team are going there,” he said. “But the coaching is biggest factor.”
Tom Anastos is entering his sixth season as MSU’s head coach.
Khodorenko, who played for the Oakland Bears, Santa Clara Blackhawks, San Jose Jr. Sharks, Anaheim Wildcats and L.A. Selects growing up in California, will join a Spartans team that offers a prime opportunity for playing time. Four of Michigan State’s regular forwards were seniors and a fifth – junior Mackenzie MacEachern – signed with the St. Louis Blues.
“I have a chance to play in every situation,” said Khodorenko, who had 13 points, including seven goals, in 43 games against junior and college competition with the NTDP’s Under-18 squad this season. “I should get a lot of opportunities there.”
The 6-foot, 197-pound forward will spend the next few months rehabilitating a broken foot, which he sustained in late March when he blocked a shot.
“I should be back skating in a month or so,” he said. “Fortunately, everything is healing straight and no surgery is needed.”
Khodorenko, who said he also strongly considered the University of Minnesota during the recruiting process, is a late 1998 birth year who is eligible for the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. He had 20 points in 34 games against United States Hockey League competition this past season.
— Chris Bayee