GRAND FORKS – Tyson Jost remembers his first visit to the University of North Dakota when he was 15 years old.
The highly recruited forward will be coming back soon.
Jost made a verbal commitment Monday afternoon to play for North Dakota beginning in the fall of 2016, ending a battle between several colleges and the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League.
The commitment made waves in the hockey world because it’s rare for a first-round pick of a WHL team like Jost (No. 7 overall in 2013) to play in college, even though the St. Albert, Alberta., product insisted that’s been his plan all along.
In the past 25 years, only one first-round WHL pick has played at North Dakota. That was Jonathan Toews. “He’s kind of my idol,” said Jost, who will play this season with the Penticton Vees in the British Columbia Hockey League. “I look up to him. He obviously had an unbelievable career at North Dakota and now in the NHL. “I think it’s a route that a lot more Canadians should take a harder look at. I see so much room to develop in college. It’s fast. It’s an older league. I think that I can develop as a person and not just a hockey player – not only on the ice but off the ice as well. You see more and more college players going to the NHL. It’s second to none. I’m so excited and so happy that I chose this route.” Jost, who is gaining traction as a possible first-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, narrowed his decision to UND and Denver. Upon returning home from the Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament in Europe, Jost called UND coach Brad Berry and made his commitment. “North Dakota was the right spot for me,” Jost said. “I was really enticed by how good the coaching staff is. I felt a great connection with Brad and Dane (Jackson). The coaches are all very professional. You can’t say no to the facilities there. When I went on my unofficial visit, we got to watch two games against Vermont. It was sold out. The atmosphere was crazy. It was a pretty neat experience.” Jost said he knows several UND commits, including Jackson Keane, Rhett Gardner and three players who will be his Penticton teammates this season – Gabe Bast, Colton Poolman and Dixon Bowen. “They are all motivated people,” Jost said. “They are all hoping to one day be a champion with North Dakota.” UND also is recruiting Jost’s roommate, defenseman Dante Fabbro, who is expected to visit UND in the fall. “Right after I committed, I told him it’s his turn,” Jost said.
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