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Forward Cole Spicer decommits from UND

The Grand Forks native is playing for the U.S. Under-18 Team.

Spicer.jpg
Grand Forks native Cole Spicer skates in a game for USA Hockey's National Team Development Program.
Rena Laverty / USA Hockey's NTDP

GRAND FORKS — Cole Spicer won't be playing college hockey at UND anymore.

The Grand Forks native and U.S. Under-18 Team forward has decommitted from the Fighting Hawks and will be looking to play elsewhere this fall, according to two sources.

Spicer, a high school senior, has 16 goals and 32 points in 50 games for the U.S. Under-18 Team. He will soon represent USA in the IIHF World Under-18 Tournament.

Spicer had hoped to come to UND this fall, but the Fighting Hawks are dealing with a logjam up front.

UND has only lost two forwards this offseason — fifth-year senior Connor Ford and fourth-year senior Ashton Calder, who entered the transfer portal.

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Meanwhile, the Fighting Hawks are expected to bring in Carolina Hurricanes draft pick Jackson Blake, Philadelphia Flyers draft pick Owen McLaughlin and draft-eligible Ben Strinden. On top of that, Dylan James' NHL Draft stock is shooting up and he likely moved ahead of Spicer in line to come to campus this fall.

James, who is aiming to become the first United States Hockey League rookie to reach 60 points in six years , could go as high as the second round according to TSN's Craig Button.

Spicer is expected to be a mid- or late-round pick in July's draft, which will be held in Montreal.

Spicer had signed his National Letter of Intent and will need to get a release before seeking a new home.

The former Grand Forks Central forward originally committed to UND in April 2019. He played one season with the Honeybaked program out of Michigan before joining USA Hockey's National Team Development Program in the fall of 2020.

Spicer's first season with the U.S. Under-17 Team was plagued with setbacks. Spicer was quarantined twice — once as a COVID-19 close contact and once after testing positive — and he also missed two months after a hernia operation. He finished the season with eight points in 29 games.

Spicer has rebounded this season, though, while playing center for the U.S. Under-18 Team. He made the team that will represent the U.S. in the Under-18 tournament beginning later this month in Germany.

In addition to Blake, McLaughlin, Strinden and James, UND still has a deep list of forward commits, including Jayden Perron of the Chicago Steel, Jaksen Panzer of East Grand Forks, Bowden Singleton of the Okotoks Oilers, Grayden Slipec of the Surrey Eagles and David Klee of the Colorado Thunderbirds.

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UND is expected to set its roster for the 2022-23 season sometime next month.

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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