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National champion throws Ivy League dreams aside after Ohio State changed his mind

Charlie Arend won a national championship with the Chicago Mission last season. Before choosing the Buckeyes, the forward thought he'd end up at an Ivy League program.

A hockey player wearing a neon green jersey laughs while putting on his helmet on the bench.
Charlie Arend of the Chicago Mission 16U AAA team.
Contributed / KoukMedia / @koukmedia

WILMETTE, Illinois — Chicago Mission forward Charlie Arend always wanted to play college hockey for an Ivy League program, but that changed immediately when he stepped onto the campus of The Ohio State University.

"It actually wasn't really in the picture at all until I went to go visit," said the 17-year-old Arend. His focus shifted when he toured Columbus in mid-December.

The 5-foot-11 skater started to receive communication from Ohio State last summer after his participation in the USA Select-16's camp in Buffalo, New York. The Buckeyes watched him at a tournament later in the year, and talks continued to pick up until Arend officially announced his commitment to the program on Jan. 20.

Hockey players wearing neon green, grey, and black jerseys celebrate together after scoring a goal.
Charlie Arend celebrates with his Chicago Mission 16U AAA teammates.
Contributed. KoukMedia / @koukmedia

"It's out of this world. I love the campus, the facilities are unreal, and the coaches are all really good guys," said the Illinois native.

The recruiting process wasn't something that was necessarily easy for the 17-year-old, though.

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"It was tough just seeing other guys securing their commitments before you, but all my coaches and trainers, everybody tells you to not worry about that and it'll come if you keep working."

Arend is coming off of a Youth Tier I national championship campaign at the 15-only division in 2022 with the Chicago Mission.

"We went in thinking we weren't going to make it out of our division. It was completely unreal. We'd been in kind of a slump, we lost state, and then got in on a bid."

The Mission squad then proceeded to go 6-0 at the national tournament, defeating Shattuck-St. Mary's 4-1 in the championship match.

"Charlie has a unique set of skills that make him a top two-way forward who plays 200-feet of heavy hockey," said the Chicago Mission website on Arend's commitment . "His ability to skate, complemented with his puck skills, will give him success at the next level."

Arend grew up in Wilmette, Illinois, about a half-hour north of downtown Chicago. His father was a hockey player and Charlie started skating around the age of four. He has one older sister who also used to play the sport.

Coming from an environment full of hockey, the left-shot forward is already familiar with a couple of other Buckeye recruits. Arend grew up playing with Noah Powell, who currently skates for Dubuque (USHL), and he also knows Chicago Mission skater Chris Able, who is now skating with the Chicago Steel (USHL).

The Wilmette native isn't sure what next season holds for him yet, but he is hoping to compete for a roster spot with the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the USHL. Dubuque drafted Arend in the sixth round of the USHL phase one draft in 2022.

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Arend, 17, likely has a few more years to go before he heads out to Columbus to compete with the Buckeyes.

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Sydney Wolf is a reporter for The Rink Live, primarily covering youth hockey. She joined the team in November of 2021 and graduated from St. Cloud State University with a B.S. in Mass Communications and a minor in Writing and Rhetoric Studies and was a part of the University Honors Program.
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