A few weeks ago I blogged about an Ohio State recruit named Clark Cristofoli who was a local product out of the Ohio Jr. Blue Jackets Midget program.
It always excites me when I read about local products excelling at this game and taking the next step either into the college ranks or into the Canadian Major Junior leagues. It says alot about how far the local hockey programs have come in what has been really been over a short amount of time.
Clark's mom, Kim, shot me over an email to let me know that Clark just recently made the USHL's Sioux Falls Stampede in South Dakota. That is fantastic news!
For those that aren't really sure what the USHL (United States Hockey League) is all about I'll let Wikipedia do the explainin!
The United States Hockey League (USHL) is the top junior ice hockey league in the United States. The USHL has 12 member teams located in Midwestern United States, consisting of players who are 20 years of age and younger. The USHL is strictly amateur, allowing former USHL players to compete in NCAA college hockey.
In other words, if your going to play D1 college hockey this is about the best route you can take to prepare yourself.
Clark was drafted in the 4th round of the 2008 USHL draft by the Stampede:
In the fourth round, the Stampede took defenseman Clark Cristofoli. Cristofoli is a left handed, skilled defenseman who currently plays midget hockey (high school aged club team) for the Ohio Jr. Blue Jackets. “He is a skilled player who moves well and distributes the puck like a seasoned hockey player,” said Hartzell. “He is a very good skater who is just physical maturity away from being a solid player.”
Clark plays defense and of course one of the first things I wanted to know in my response back to Kim was at what age did Clark start playing hockey?
As his mom Kim explains, "although we've lived in many cities, Clark originally started playing hockey at age 4 at the Dublin Chiller in a learn-to-play-hockey class. I believe this was a year or so before the Blue Jackets came to town. We moved to Wisconsin shortly after".
Clark and his family lived in Columbus from age 2 to 6 and have also resided in Columbus the past 3 1/2 years. Clark has spent the past 4 seasons playing for the AAA Blue Jackets.
As for his future after his time with the USHL Kim says, "Clark is verbally committed to Ohio State for 2011. His dad played junior in Canada many years ago so it was something we considered. We wanted Clark to be on a team that's a good fit for him and where he would feel the most comfortable. We weren't really worried about location."
For those interested in following Clark's career with Sioux Falls Stampedes you can track his progress at their official web site here starting next season.
Clark is just the latest example of the quality hockey talent Columbus is starting to churn out. As Puck-rakers mentioned earlier this year there were also 4 local kids drafted by the OHL this season.
In fact Kim went onto to say "there are several kids from the AAA Blue Jackets who are trying out and making junior teams right now. The U18's next season should also be a great team with a lot of talent. Columbus has built a great program over the last few years!".
I may be biased but I hope Ohio State recruits em all!
Good luck Clark and Kim and please keep us posted on Clark's progress!