Minnesota Duluth has added Aaron Crandall of Lakeville, Minn., for next season as a third goalie, joining sophomore returnees Kenny Reiter and Brady Hjelle. Crandall, 19, who is 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, is a former St. Thomas Academy player and a former Wisconsin recruit. He played the last two years in the U.S. Hockey League for Green Bay and Des Moines (Iowa).
Crandall visited UMD two weeks ago and accepted the position of an invited walk-on for 2009-10. He had made an oral commitment to Wisconsin while a high school senior in 2007, but Wisconsin later withdrew the scholarship offer, said Crandall.
"The UMD coaches told me they had a spot open and they wanted to improve their depth at the position," Crandall said Wednesday. "I was told that the three goalies will all be given a chance and that’s all I could ask for.
"Playing in the WCHA has been a dream for me; going to a school just two hours from home was important and I’m excited that UMD is building a new rink.
"I feel like I gained a ton of experience in 66 games the last two years in the USHL and I’m ready for college hockey."
His stats this season in Des Moines were a 7-19-3 record with a goals-against average of 5.05 and save percentage of .858 for 34 games. Des Moines was 12-43-5 overall. His Green Bay stats for 2007-08 were 5-21-2, 3.50 and .882. Crandall was on the 2007 Minnesota Class A all-tournament team as the Cadets placed third, and was on a 2007 USA Under 18 Select team with Hjelle. He played for the Green Bay Gamblers as a high school senior in 2007-08.
UMD had been seeking a third goalie to make up for the early departure of starter Alex Stalock to the NHL’s San Jose Sharks.
ALSO there is talk that WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod will be in Omaha this week to talk with Nebraska-Omaha officials about joining the league. At the same time, Omaha’s new athletic director, Trev Alberts, is in the midst of a search for a hockey coach, to replace Mike Kemp. The most recent rumor is that Dean Blais is the coaching front-runner, while UMD assistant Steve Rohlik is a former Omaha assistant.