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In his fourth season of junior hockey, Duluth native Jacob Jeannette earns Division I commitment to Union

Jeannette played a season of high school hockey for Duluth East and earned a trip to the 2019 state tournament before heading off to play four seasons of junior hockey in the USHL.

A player wearing a white and red hockey uniform lifts up his leg and celebrates in front of the crowd after scoring a goal.
Jacob Jeannette of the Dubuque Fighting Saints celebrates after scoring a goal. Jeannette grew up in Duluth, Minnesota, and recently announced his commitment to Union College.
Contributed / Stephen Gassman

DUBUQUE, Iowa — Growing up in Duluth means growing up in a community where the sport of hockey thrives.

"You have all the ice in the world that you want. You can go out and practice or play shinny with your buddies and that's kind of where I fell in love with the game — on outdoor rinks," said 19-year-old Jacob Jeannette.

Jeannette, a winger for the Dubuque Fighting Saints, has committed to Union College as he finishes his fourth season in the USHL.

The forward started skating around the age of 3 and started to feel his love for the game grow stronger and stronger as the years went on and some of his friend's passions for the game rubbed off on him.

Jeannette even has family ties to the sport of hockey as his father, Jeremy , was part of the 1991 Minnesota State High School Tournament runner-up team with Duluth East and won a Division III national championship with the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in 1994.

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Like his father, Jacob also played hockey when he was younger for Duluth East.

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Duluth East's Jacob Jeannette placed No. 1 in this year's All Hockey Hair Team video from Game On! Minnesota. (Screenshot)

He played one varsity season with the team in 2018-19 where the Hounds made it to the state tournament and won the consolation championship bracket.

Even though Jeannette only played a single season of high school hockey before heading out to compete n the USHL, making it to the state tournament is still one of his favorite memories of all-time. He also remembers having fun as one of the younger players on the team that season.

"The upperclassmen looked after me. I didn't have my license or anything so they drove me around to practice and kind of showed me the ropes," said Jeannette. "I played with Ryder Donovan and he mentored me in a way and sort of took me under his wing."

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Duluth East's Jacob Jeannette and Andover's Tommy Nowacki (14) compete for the puck in the second period of the section 7AA boys hockey finals at Amsoil Arena on Thursday.
Tyler Schank / The Rink Live

After posting 17 points in 28 games as a 16-year-old on his high school team, Jeannette decided to start his journey into the world of junior hockey.

"It's the best hockey you can play, that's kind of what was attractive to me," said Jeannette on why he made the decision to leave his high school program.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound forward played three seasons for the Waterloo Black Hawks, from 2019 to 2022.

"The adjustment was really hard and it honestly took me two-and-a-half years to get acclimated with injuries and the mental side of the game, it wasn't easy," he said.

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After spending three seasons in Waterloo, the power forward now plays for Dubuque.

Even though adapting to the level of play in the USHL can be tricky for young players, Jeannette loved his experiences in juniors with his billet families. Finishing school also wasn't a big issue for the skater as he finished high school online through the Duluth school district.

A player in a white and red hockey uniform handles the puck and prepares to shoot past a defender and a goaltender wearing white, light blue, and navy.
Jacob Jeannette of the Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL) prepares to shoot the puck against the Madison Capitols. Jeannette, a native of Duluth, Minnesota, recently announced his commitment to play at the Division I level for Union College.
Stephen Gassman.

The college recruiting process then started to pick up for the power forward this past spring.

Jeannette started talking with Union College head coach Josh Hauge in the summer of 2022. Discussions started to pick up that fall and eventually the forward made the decision to commit to the Division I program.

"The culture they are building at Union is phenomenal, everything there checked the boxes for me," said Jeannette on his decision.

Union is located in Schenectady, New York, which is about 30-minutes from the capital city of Albany. Going to school out East is something that the Duluth native is very excited about.

"Going to a different part of the country is something I really want to do. Being in juniors for the last three years, I've stayed in the Midwest my whole life and I want to experience something new," he said.

Jeannette got to met some of the guys who play for Union on his visit to the campus, and is already familiar with freshman Ethan Benz - who he skates with in the summer.

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Union fans will get to see the Jeannette in action next fall, when he is set to join the team. The hard-nosed power forward is good in corners and has worked hard on his skating throughout the years.

Throughout 130 USHL games so far, the Duluth native has 19 goals and 29 assists for 48 total points.

He currently has six points posted throughout 16 games this season for Dubuque.

"Our team is fun and we have a fun style of hockey," said Jeannette about the Fighting Saints team, who are 10-6-2 overall this year and are in the middle of the Eastern Conference standings.

The forward says that the team has a nice mix of both younger players and more veteran guys on the roster.

The 19-year-old said that their biggest strength has been their character, as the team got lots of bonding time together earlier this season. The Dubuque Ice Arena was under construction from June until November for settlement remediation and the whole team had to travel to Madison, Wisconsin, to practice for the first few weeks of the year.

Jeannette will finish this season in the USHL before heading to Union in the fall of 2023. In his free time, you can find the skater out playing golf most days when the weather is nice.

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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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