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Minnesota commit Sam Rinzel went from lunchtime skating sessions to top prospect in this year's NHL Draft

The Chaska Hawks and Waterloo Black Hawks defenseman began skating around the age of three and has been one of the biggest names in North American skater rankings leading up to the draft in July.

Sam Rinzel Prospect Profile Wide.jpg
Peter Jesensky / Hockey Slovakia

CHANHASSEN, Minn. — Get used to hearing the name Sam Rinzel. The Chaska captain, Waterloo Black Hawks defenseman and Minnesota Gopher commit is one of the top prospects in this year's NHL Draft.

In the final list put out by NHL Central Scouting prior to the 2022 NHL Draft, Rinzel is ranked 19th overall among North American skaters.

But how did he get to this point?

"I started when I was three years old," Rinzel said

"I think the earliest memory I got is in kindergarten, or wherever in that region of how old I was, my dad would take me out of lunch. He'd take me to skate on a little three-on-three rink at Velocity in Minnesota and I think that's where I fully started."


Those skating sessions ended up being the foundation for the successful start to his hockey career. There are a few parts to Rinzel's game that he believes are key.

"Size is a big one for me, and I think I'm a really good skater," Rinzel said. "My puck handling and my hockey IQ is a big one that I like to stick to my strengths for. Things I'd like to get better at is just my defensive game a little bit and kind of refining my game."


Age: 17
Hometown: Chanhassen, Minn.
Position: D
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 181 lbs
Current team: Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL)
College Commitment: University of Minnesota
NHL Rights: Top prospect eligible for the 2022 NHL Draft
Elite Prospects Profile Link

Kirsten Krull covers juniors and prospects for The Rink Live. She is a 2020 St. Cloud State graduate, and has been working in the hockey world for over six years, covering many levels of the game from juniors to the NHL.
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