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Waterloo Duo Makes College Commitments

01/15/2014, 12:00pm CST
By bwerger

Two members of Waterloo Black Hawks players have recently made college commitments as defenseman Dane Cooper has chosen Brown University and forward Blake Winiecki will play his collegiate hockey at St. Cloud State University following their time in the USHL.

Cooper has dished out 10 assists and posted a plus-11 rating through 27 games this season.  That point total already equals his total in 59 games last season with the Black Hawks.  He first broke into the USHL during the 2011-12 season, playing 40 games and recording five points (1g, 4a).  Over 126 regular season games during his USHL career, the 19-year-old from Chicago, Illinois has collected 25 points (1g, 24a), posted a plus-20 rating, and accumulated 269 penalty minutes.

“If you meet Dane, you’re not likely to forget him.  He is outgoing and easy for fans of all ages to talk to,” said Black Hawks Head Coach P.K. O’Handley.  “Having the opportunity to attend an Ivy League school is a testament to his efforts on and off the ice.”

Cooper joins Waterloo teammate Tim Lappin who is also committed to Brown University, as well as Tommy Parran of the Youngstown Phantoms who will play hockey at the Ivy League school.

Brown University is a member of the ECAC and has seven USHL alumni on the roster this season; Mark Naclerio (Waterloo Black Hawks), Nick Lappin (Tri-City/Cedar Rapids), Matt Wahl (Omaha Lancers), Ryan Jacobson (Sioux Falls Stampede), Davey Middleton (Cedar Rapids/Tri-City), Alexi Rossi (Waterloo Black Hawks), and Kyle Quick (Lincoln Stars).

Winiecki is having a breakout season offensively, scoring 27 points (16g, 11a) over 31 games this season for Waterloo.  His 16 goals are tied for the team lead and currently ranked tied for seventh in the USHL.  He has netted five of his goals over the last three games, including his first USHL career hat trick during the 6-4 win over Dubuque on January 4th.  His next game on January 10th, which was his 20th birthday, he recorded a career high four-point night (2g, 2a) in the 8-3 win against Sioux Falls.

The Lakeville, Minnesota native spent last season with the Black Hawks and produced 19 points (5g, 14a) over 51 regular season games.  He was selected by the team in the 2012 USHL Entry Draft after he concluded his high school career.

“I feel like St. Cloud is a place I can play and improve my game over the next four seasons and get an education as well,” said Winiecki, who noted that the Huskies roster currently includes several other former Black Hawks.  “I think that I can follow in their footsteps and also have a successful college career.”

Winiecki joins Waterloo teammate Patrick Russell who will also play hockey at St. Cloud State University.  Six other current USHL players are also committed to school; Clark Kuster (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders), Judd Peterson (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders), Jacob Benson (Dubuque Fighting Saints), Mikey Eyssimont (Fargo Force), Patrick Newell (Indiana Ice), and Jimmy Schuldt (Omaha Lancers).

St. Cloud State University is playing its first season in the newly-formed National Collegiate Hockey Conference and has 14 USHL alumni on the roster; Jarrod Rabey (Indiana Ice), Kevin Gravel (Sioux City Musketeers), Ryan Papa (Waterloo Black Hawks), Ethan Prow (Des Moines Buccaneers), Niklas Nevalainen (Dubuque Fighting Saints), Jimmy Murray (Omaha/Fargo), Ben Storm (Muskegon Lumberjacks), Brooks Bertsch (Dubuque Fighting Saints), Jonny Brodzinski (Fargo Force), Nic Dowd (Indiana Ice), Nick Oliver (Fargo Force), Andrew Prochno (Sioux Falls/Waterloo), Charlie Lindgren (Sioux Falls Stampede), and Joe Rehkamp (Waterloo/Fargo).

USHL stats – Dane Cooper

USHL stats – Blake Winiecki


Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 12th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2013-14.  A record 32 players were chosen in the 2013 NHL Draft and more than 300 players on team rosters last season have committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.  For more information, visit us on the web at or visit the League’s social media platforms, including Facebook (, twitter (, and YouTube (  Fans can also watch USHL action all season long, live or on-demand via FASTHockey (

It’s not just hockey. It’s the USHL.

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