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Tiefenwerth Commits To UMass

UMass picked up a very intriguing commitment for this coming fall today in the form of K.J. Tiefenwerth. The 5’9” 160lb forward spent the past two seasons with the Junior Bruins of the EJHL, serving as team captain. This past season he scored 30 goals and had 47 assists in 43 games, that tied him for 3rd in the league in total points. In the prior year with the Bruins he had 26 goals and 31 assists in 44 games and was named Rookie of the Year in the league. Before that he was a teammate of Mike Pereira’s at Avon Old Farms where they won a prep championship together. When I went to watch AOF play at Deerfield a couple years ago to scout Pereira, Tiefenwerth played as well, even assisting on a goal with Pereira during the game. I can’t say I remember a lot about him, but he stood out enough that I still remember his name a couple years later.

What makes Tiefenwerth intriguing is that he was once a Boston College recruit, committing to the Eagles when he was just 15 years old. According to USHR Tiefenwerth was being recruited by BC as well as BU and UNH but committed to the Eagles. Somewhere along the way BC cooled on him and basically decided they didn’t want him anymore. In probably one of the more unclassy things Jerry York has done he said they’d honor his scholarship but he would not play hockey for them. Tiefenwerth still remained committed to the Eagles until this past fall. At that point Northeastern and some other schools got into the mix. Now he’s a Minuteman.

Tiefenwerth attended New York Islanders development camp this past summer (playing with Mike Marcou). Here’s another piece on his time at Islanders camp. He’s supposed to have a great shot, which is a huge asset for UMass as they’ve lacked finishers seemingly forever. He was identified as a potential NHL draft pick but went undrafted when he was eligible, perhaps due to his size.

I absolutely love this move. Here’s a mature player who will be able to come in and hopefully contribute right away. And not just contribute in minutes, but in scoring. He has already played with a number of current Minutemen like Mike Pereira, Colin Shea, and Andrew Tegeler. I could care less that in the end BC didn’t want him. For whatever reason BU decided they didn’t want Mike Pereira. Their loss, UMass’ gain. Tiefenwerth could be another similar steal.

I’ll try to post more on Tiefenwerth in the weeks ahead.

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12 Comments

  1. Mr. The Triangle, I have to wholeheartedly disagree with this:

    “In probably one of the more unclassy things Jerry York has done he said they’d honor his scholarship but he would not play hockey for them.”

    Huh? That’s as classy as it gets. York was dead-on balls honest with him and basically told him he was free to look elsewhere for playing time without actually saying it. All the while promising him a free education in case nothing worked out.

    That is the OPPOSITE of unclassy. What’s he supposed to do? Lead the kid on to make him think he’s going to get all this playing time?

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    • BC offers the kid a chance to play hockey there. He commits to be an Eagle. And then, according to USHR, less than a year later BC decides they don’t want them. That’s unclassy. If York isn’t going to honor his word when he offers to play hockey for him maybe he shouldn’t be taking in commitments from 15 year olds.

      The whole “we’ll honor your scholarship to the school” thing is nothing. It’s lip service. Empty words. It’s an easy thing to say because there’s no way in the world they’ll ever have to actually go through with it. These players train hard for years for a chance to play DI hockey, of course they’re going to go someplace else can play when their roster spot is yanked, even if the school offers to “honor” their scholarship.

      The thing I hate the most about college hockey is people involved, even some of the classiest like York, not honoring commitments. Kids commit to college and then jump to another school or the OHL at the last minute. Coaches offer a roster spot and scholarship to 8th graders and then tell them if they want to play they’ll have to find someplace else. A man is only as good as his word.

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    • Believe me Grant there is probably no one I respect more in college hockey than Jerry York. But it’s disappointing how rampant people reneging on their word has become in this sport.

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  2. Anonymous

     /  March 23, 2012

    Nothing is guaranteed, I agree with Grant here. Is he supposed to play him over others who are more deserving? Its a little more than just lip service I would say, 4 years for free at a great school. Giving the kid a chance to look elsewhere is a great and classy move by York. He could look around to play elsewhwere which a full scholarship in his back pocket if nothing else panned out. I agree with you 99% of the time rocks, but not here.

    See you at the reverse raffle.

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    • I feel I’m being consistent. College hockey fans (and coaches) can’t complain about kids reneging on their commitments to their school and then turn around and shrug their shoulders when they yank a kid’s roster spot. Honoring the scholarship is irrelevant.

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  3. Anonymous

     /  March 23, 2012

    And good to hear about the goal scorer coming to Umass. They need a few more.

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  4. Anonymous

     /  March 23, 2012

    Every single college hockey coach has gone through a situation like this, but most do not offer to honor ths scholarship. Jerry York is very classy in this respect.

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  5. Anonymous

     /  March 23, 2012

    If I were a player, I would rather a coach be brutally honest with me.

    Look at some of the freshmen who rarely saw ice time this year. You would rather York not say anything and let the kid sit in the stands at conte in a suit for four years? He nows has the opportunity to play somewhere where he will get some good ice time.

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    • Maybe coaches shouldn’t be making offers until they’re sure that player can contribute on their team. It’s insane to make offers to 8th graders.

      And before it’s brought up, I realize it’s done to blunt the effect of major junior. But that doesn’t make it right.

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  6. George

     /  March 23, 2012

    You guys make the call. Agreed Rocks that recruiting 8 and 9th graders is perilous, at best. Unfortunately it’s the business, as crazy as it is.

    10-7-11 From USHR
    Tiefenwerth Decommits
    It’s been a long, strange trip – and a cautionary tale if there ever was one — but it’s coming to an end, or at least a new beginning.

    Boston Junior Bruins (EJHL) forward K.J. Tiefenwerth has decommitted from Boston College, and is looking at other schools.

    This story starts in August of 2007 – four years and two months ago – when Tiefenwerth went out to the Select 15 Festival in St. Cloud, Minn. and put on a show in front of the usual complement of coaches, one of whom was Boston College head coach Jerry York.

    Less than three weeks later – we’re still in August – Tiefenwerth visited the Heights and the BC staff told him he was their guy. Quite emphatically, too, in the form of a full scholarship. The 15-year-old was bowled over and committed on the spot. He canceled visits to Boston University and UNH that had been set up for the following two days. He was a BC guy. Full in.

    Seven months later, in March 2008, Tiefenwerth was invited to the NTDP 40-man tryout in Ann Arbor. He didn’t do well. Other players had caught up to – and surpassed – Tiefenwerth physically. He appeared overmatched.

    Before he even arrived at Avon Old Farms that fall of ’08, the Eagles’ staff had cooled on him. As time went by, they tried to freeze him out, telling him pointedly that, while his scholarship would be honored, he would never play at Boston College. The BC staff had realized Tiefenwerth would never be a top six forward, but he was also neither fast enough nor big enough to take a role on the second or third lines either. Plus, there was the scholarship money. BC realized they had made a mistake. But Tiefenwerth, who was originally expected to arrive at the Heights in ’10 or ’11, never decommitted. He was going to go to BC, where his education would be paid for, whether or not the coaches even listed him on the roster.

    After helping Avon Old Farms win a prep title in 2010, Tiefenwerth joined the Junior Bruins, where he is now in his second season. For a long time people have been wondering just what Tiefenwerth was going to do. Would he actually show up at BC even though he wasn’t wanted there, and hadn’t been wanted for a long time?

    The truth of the matter on Tiefenwerth is that, although he may not have turned out to be the elite-level player BC (and others) thought he would become, he’s not chopped liver either. When Avon Old Farms won the New England prep title 2010, Tiefenwerth’s line, which included Mike Pereira (UMass) and Quinn Smith (BC) were on the ice for all four goals in a 4-1 win over NMH. Last year, Tiefenwerth was a top 10 scorer in the EJ last year, with 57 points in 44 games played.

    A spot exists for him somewhere, but this is — and has been for quite a while — an unusual situation. Generally, when a college team cools on a kid they committed to early, they stop calling and hope the kid gives up and looks to other schools. That’s what BC hoped Tiefenwerth would do, but he didn’t, which made the Long Island native a rarity. Another thing colleges do with their ‘mistakes’ is keep them in juniors until they age out, then bring them in and hope they can help in a lesser role than originally envisioned. BC didn’t want to do that with Tiefenwerth.

    At least one Hockey East school thought about offering Tiefenwerth, but saw a greater advantage in the Eagles having to eat the money. Were they serious? Hard to say, but nothing is said totally in jest. And the league doesn’t lack for competitiveness.

    Offers are coming in now, and Tiefenwerth, a good student (but a bit below Ivy level), will be playing Div. I college hockey at a school where he’s wanted.

    His coach on the Junior Bruins, Peter Masters, says, “K.J. is a winner. He’s won everywhere he’s gone. He’s a super kid. He’s the captain of our team. He’s always been a leading scorer. He’s excellent in the locker room for us. If you ask anyone on our team who you’d want as a linemate, K.J. would be the first choice. I am sure in the end when all this sorts itself out he will find the right home with the right fit.”

    And that’s where the K.J. Tiefenwerth story stands today, all these years after that happy day at the Heights.

    When people say committing 15-year-olds is a bad thing for college hockey, here’s Exhibit A.

    Update: Tiefenwerth had four goals in the Junior Bruins 6-5 OT win over the Jersey Hitmen on Saturday night. Three of his goals came in the third period, including a shorthanded unassisted tally that gave the Junior Bruins the lead with 1:40 to go in regulation. (The Hitmen tied it up with 36 seconds left to send it into OT, whereupon the Junior Bruins took all of eight seconds to put an end to it on a Matt Lemire goal.)

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  7. Anonymous

     /  March 25, 2012

    please stop all positive praise on this site towards bc or york….bc has its own site…go on it

    go umass

    welcome to umass kj!

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