Wednesday, October 25, 2006

North Stars’ Nagorsen commits to WMU

Next year’s CCHA schedule could well read like a Traverse City North Stars reunion tour.

With Stars captain Patrick Nagorsen committing to Western Michigan University this week, he joins former North Stars Steven Oleksy and Eric Elmblad, who are already at Lake Superior State and Michigan, respectively, in what could be a four-sided Central Collegiate Hockey Association rivalry in 2007-08. Current North Stars forward Kory Kaunisto is committed to Northern Michigan, but could also opt for another year of junior hockey before heading to Marquette.

Nagorsen, who was given preferred walk-on status at Western– which means his roster spot is guaranteed with the potential to earn a scholarship – eschewed potential scholarships from a number of NCAA Div. I and III suitors to realize a long-awaited goal.

“It’s always been my dream to play in the CCHA, to play versus Michigan and Michigan State,” said the Novi product, who leads Traverse City in scoring this season with five goals and seven assists through 15 games. “Plus, I’ll be close to home where my family can come and watch, and it’s a great school with a great business school. I’ve thought past hockey and tried to plan for my future.”

Nagorsen, who prepped at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s and powered the Eaglets to the 2005 MHSAA state championship, also led the 2005-06 North Stars in scoring with 17 goals and 25 assists. He has also served as one of the franchise’s front men, serving as assistant captain last year and as captain this season, appearing on the cover of the team’s yearbook, and even on the cover of the region’s AT&T Yellow Pages book.

“We’re all very happy for him,” said North Stars head coach Scott Gardiner. “Patrick worked hard to get to the CCHA, and he knows he has to continue to do that now that he has his commitment.

“He’s just been a great leader for us, a skilled player with speed and skill and a great work ethic. Western’s getting a good one.”

When he lands in Kalamazoo for the 2007-08 season, Nagorsen will find some familiar faces in the Broncos locker room, including a pair of former NAHL foes in goalie Riley Gill (Texarkana Bandits) and defenseman Tyler Ludwig (Texas Tornado), both of whom faced off against Nagorsen four times each last year. Nagorsen also looks forward to future meetings with his TC brethren – at least until the first puck drops.

“It would be a lot of fun. Kory and I actually talked about it,” Nagorsen said. “But when you go out on the ice, you don’t really have any friends, so I’d have to look out for Kory. It’d be great to see through my four years there (at WMU) how many former North Stars players I’ll play with and against.”

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