Looks like Mike Eaves and the Wisconsin coaching staff have finally tapped back into the market of Canadian born hockey players. With just three Canadians on the current roster, and none committed for future seasons, many were wondering where that Western Canadian pipeline had gone.
That changed recently when BCHL power-forward Jedd Soleway gave his verbal commitment to play for Wisconsin for the 2014 season. Soleway, a center from the Penticton Vees visited Madison last week for the Alabama-Huntsville series and gave his pledge to coach Eaves.
At 6'2, 208 pounds, Soleway brings serious size and an edge to his game. A native of Vernon, British Columbia, Soleway played in the Okanagan Rockets system before joining his hometown Vernon Vipers in the BCHL. Soleway was recently traded from Vernon to Penticton.
Soleway recorded 25 points (13G, 12A) in 58 games as a 17 year-old for the Vernon Vipers last season. This year, Soleway put up 17 points (5G, 12A) in 26 games for Vernon before he was traded to Penticton. With the Vees, Soleway is off to a fast start with two goals and three assists in his first four games.
Current teammate and North Dakota commit Wade Murphy has only played with Soleway a few games, but told the Penticton Western News that he likes what he sees so far.
"He played unreal," said Murphy, who skated on a line with Soleway and Minnesota commit Louie Nanne. "I'm real excited to play with him. He goes hard to the net."
"He's just big," Murphy went on to add. "He is powerful and has a great shot. He has hockey smarts."
In that same article from the Penticton Western News, Gopher commit Louie Nanne had some positive things to say about the future Badger.
"He's a real hard worker," said Nanne. "He helps on ice and in practice. He is pushing guys to next level."
The 6-2, 208-pound Jedd Soleway casts an imposing figure and looks more like a linebacker than an ice skating hockey forward.
"Jedd is a power forward," says Wisconsin men's hockey head coach Mike Eaves. "He has a really good presence in the corners and in front of the net. He is also very good on faceoffs."
Soleway used his size to a stellar second-half of the season last year with the Penticton Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League. The right-handed shot joined the Vees after a midseason trade from the Vernon Vipers. He totaled 19 goals and 46 points in 48 regular-season games for the season, posting 14 of those goals and 29 of those points in 22 games with Penticton. He helped the squad to an Interior Division title. He had five goals and 17 points in 26 games with Vernon.
Wisconsin is one of the stronger programs in the NCAA's, so we'll hang tight on this kid and see what happens. The coach Eaves is pretty highly regarded, they won the national title in 06 with Joe Pavelski and Adam Burish, and lost the title game in 2010 with Ryan McDonaugh and Blake Geoffrion. Obviously if Soleway turns into Adam Burish, we'll all be quite pleased.
Edit: Like the video, interesting that his mom worked for the Red Wings. Another kid from a "hockey family" ... all a coincidence, or is this intentional? A deliberate strategy by GMDM to avoid flaky, Turris-types?
Bottom six upside, but Soleway appears to be a beast physically, and he'll only get stronger at Wisconsin. I like that he can handle faceoffs and play in the corners. If he's got any puck skills, he could be a real fourth line badass someday.
Future Chipchura? Seems to be a beast but I've seen the BCHL live and there's a sharp drop off in talent between the 1st line and the 3rd line. I do like the 4 years of development we get out of a NCAA player. As long as he doesn't hold out at the end of the 4 years.....