Eichel To Play For US Under 17 Team Over QMJHL

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Eichel to play for US under-17 team over QMJHL July 16, 2012 7:35 AM

In a time when so many players from the United States seem to walk away from commitments to NCAA and Junior programs, Jack Eichel has made the decision to honor his, at least for this year.

The Halifax Mooseheads caught many people by surprise with their selection of Eichel in this years draft. After Eichel made a commitment to Boston University in late April, most QMJHL were not willing to chance drafting the 15 year old until the later rounds.

But he was the No. 1 U.S. player in the Mooseheads rankings and General Manager Cam Russell said after making the pick that he felt if Eichel had been ranked in the draft, “he’d be the best player in the draft” and would make an immediate impact comparable to that of rookies Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin in 2011-12.

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League club announced Friday that the 15th overall selection in June’s draft won’t report to Halifax for next month’s training camp.

“Obviously, we’re disappointed that Jack won’t be with us this season,” Russell said in a news release.

“At the same time, this was not a short-term selection on our part, as we knew he was committed to the U.S. under-17 program for this upcoming season.”

From North Chelmsford, Mass., Eichel piled up 86 points in 36 games last season with the Boston Junior Bruins of the Empire Junior Hockey League.

“We’ll continue to stay in touch with the Eichel family to convince them that Halifax is the best spot for Jack’s development next year and beyond,” Russell said in the release.

Depending on Eichels development this season, the pressure to join the Mooseheads will most likely become more intense. It is suspected and rumored that Eichel will not make a decision on moving to the QMJHL until more information is gathered as to his NHL draft ratings. Eichel does not turn 16 until October so it is likely that he will stay in the US for this season and the next.

Joseph Kolodziej

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