Matt Pohlkamp will become the latest player in the pipeline of Brainerd Warriors to Division I programs.
On Monday, the senior verbally accepted a full athletic scholarship to play for Bowling Green University, which will enter the WCHA in the 2013-14 season.
“Ever since my first year of varsity (hockey) as a freshman I knew I wanted to play hockey,” Pohlkamp said. “It was a big deal for me, and I’ve been working for that.”
He will join Chris Peluso (Bemidji State), Carl Sneep (Boston College), Ryan Peltoma (Bowling Green), Drew Olson (Minnesota-Duluth) and Josh Archibald (Nebraska-Omaha) as Warriors who have played in recent years, or are currently playing, in Division I programs.
“We are very proud of Matt,” Warriors coach Jim Archibald said. “He has paid a huge price to put himself in this position. He had some tough decisions to make, but obviously they worked out for the best and he will be able to continue to play a sport he loves for many years down the road. He will not only be able to continue playing, but he will also be using his abilities to get an education.
“Any time you have players that are able to move to Division I in any sport that indicates the success of the program. We know Matt will do a great job of representing the school, community and Brainerd hockey.”
Pohlkamp made the difficult decision to bypass his senior season of football to play in the Upper Midwest High School Elite Hockey League. He would have been the leading rusher returning for the Warrior team this fall.
“I wasn’t as tired as I was last year doing both (football and hockey) and I think that helped. I didn’t miss as many (hockey) games (this fall). I think it helped me be more mentally there and physically able to play.”
Pohlkamp drew the attention of Bowling Green thanks in part to former Warriors head coach Ty Eigner, now an assistant for the Falcons.
It also helped that he enjoyed a solid season
for the North team in the elite league this fall. He collected seven goals and 12 assists as the North finished second in the regular season and in the playoffs.
Entering this Warriors season, Pohlkamp had scored 63 goals and collected 53 assists in 79 games. In the season opener Tuesday against Northern Lakes, he scored twice and earned two assists.
Pohlkamp said Bowling Green’s tentative plan is to have him play junior hockey next season before joining the Falcons in the fall of 2013.
“I’m perfectly fine with developing my skills for another year before I go there,” he said.
Pohlkamp said he liked everything about Bowling Green, from the arena to the coaching staff to the campus.
“Everyone there was really passionate for the game and where the program’s going,” he said. “School-wise, everything is super close. The rink is close to the dorms, all the buildings are close to each other. The town is built around the college.”
Joe Pohlkamp visited Bowling Green with his son the weekend of Nov. 13. They met with an academic representative and with head coach Chris Bergeron.
“One of the things that impressed me the most was they said they recruit three things: Good kids, good academic kids, and good hockey players,” Joe Pohlkamp said. “They have to have all three of those.”
Joe Pohlkamp said his son was glad to make a commitment and concentrate on his final high school season without the distraction of recruiting.
“I’ve noticed the difference already,” Joe Pohlkamp said. (Tuesday) night he was having fun out there.”