By Michael David/LSSU Beat Writer
The Lake Superior State Lakers' first verbal commitment for the 2012-13 hockey season comes from defenseman Eric Drapluk. For the last two seasons, Drapluk has suited up for the Coulee Region Chill of the North American Hockey League.
The Lakers staff first witnessed Drapluk play at the NAHL Prospects Tournament in Ann Arbor last season, and have been interested in him ever since. Other programs like Air Force and Massachusetts-Lowel also showed interest, but Lake State's persistence paid off.
"I liked the school; I got a good vibe there," Drapluk stated to the Lacrosse Tribune. "I went up there for a visit in (in September) and decided it's the right place for me."
Being a native of Pembroke Pines, Fla., he's used to travelling to play hockey due to lack of ice rinks and youth programs. Drapluk seems to be satisfied with Lake Superior's location, though.
"I liked the change," Drapluk stated. "I'm from a bigger city and moving around opens your eyes to what's out there. I think it's awesome to experience other things. It's a small school, but that way you can really bond with your team."
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound defenseman is in his third year of junior hockey. Starting out with Philadelphia (EJHL), he was taken by Coulee Region in the 2010 draft, and scored three goals, 24 assists, and was a plus-5 in 55 games last season. So far in the 2011-12 campaign, Drapluk has eight assists and is a plus-5 in 16 games.
Chill head coach Garrett Strot drafted Drapluk, and seems to think he has the tools to compete at the Division I level.
"He's got good speed, and good stick and sees the ice well," stated Strot. "I think they (LSSU) also like his grittiness. I think he'll do well because of his vision and speed because the game gets faster and faster at that level."