Part of the Blaze in high school, a Florida Panthers draft pick, and currently skating for the Waterloo Black Hawks, defenseman Eddie Wittchow will also be a Badger during his hockey career, a decision which was made official by his commitment to the University of Wisconsin Thursday.
The USHL rookie played high school hockey in Minnesota last winter for the Burnsville Blaze. An impressive season led to his selection with the fourth overall pick during the USHL Entry Draft and made him a sixth round choice for the Panthers a month later. Joining the Hawks, he has played in every game during 2011-2012. Wittchow’s +8 plus/minus rating leads the team, and he has recorded one goal – a game-winner versus the Dubuque Fighting Saints on November 18th – with five assists.
“Eddie has the skills to be successful in college and the size to be intriguing to pro general managers,” said Black Hawks coach P.K. O’Handley. “Wisconsin has helped a few Black Hawks get to the NHL, and Eddie could join that list.”
The 6’ 4”, 200-pound blueliner is the second Black Hawk to make a college commitment this week. On Tuesday, forward Ryan Papa committed to WCHA-rival St. Cloud State. There are currently eleven Waterloo players who have announced their future college plans.
The Badgers 2011-2012 roster includes former Hawks forwards Keegan Meuer and Tyler Barnes. Current NHL’ers Craig Smith and Joe Pavelski played in Waterloo and for Wisconsin before joining the Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks respectively. Smith was a Badger last season before jumping to the pros, where he is presently second in rookie scoring.
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)