June 27, 2013
Notre Dame, Ind. - It seems like just yesterday (okay, it was Monday) that the Stanley Cup playoffs came to an end and the Chicago Blackhawks haven't even held their championship parade, but now hockey's attention turns to the National Hockey League Entry Draft. For three current and future Notre Dame hockey players, dreams of playing professional hockey will hopefully come true this Sunday at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
The NHL will hold its annual Entry Draft on June 30 with the draft being hosted at the home of the New Jersey Devils. This year's draft will begin at 3:00 p.m. with all seven rounds conducted on Sunday. The draft will be televised by the NBC Sports Network, TSN and RDS in Canada, beginning at 3 p.m. with the NHL Network's coverage beginning at 8 p.m.
Three players with ties to the Notre Dame hockey program, including one who will play for the Irish in the 2013-14 season, could hear their names called this Sunday, most likely in rounds two through seven. Leading the trio is incoming freshman goaltender Chad Katunar (Victoria, B.C.) and future Irish players - defenseman Luke Ripley (Kitamit, B.C.) and goaltender Cal Petersen (Waterloo, Iowa) - who signed national letters-of-intent this past season. Katunar played last year for the Penticton Vees while Ripley will play this second season with the Powell River Kings in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) and Petersen will be between the pipes for his second year with the Waterloo Black Hawks of the United States Hockey League (USHL).
All three players were ranked in NHL Central Scouting's Final Rankings in April. Ripley was ranked 86th among North American skaters while Peterson was the fourth-ranked North American goaltender while Katunar was ranked 28th among goaltenders.
Players born between Jan. 1, 1993 and Sept. 15, 1995 are eligible for selection in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Additionally, undrafted, non-North American players over the age of 20 are eligible for the draft and those players who were drafted in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, but not signed by an NHL team and who were born after June 30, 1993, are also eligible to re-enter the draft.
Katunar, who will begin his college career this season at Notre Dame, is a 6-6, 218-pound goaltender who will join Steven Summerhays (Sr., Anchorage, Alaska) and Joe Rogers (Sr., Marysville, Mich.) as the Irish goaltending trio this season. He is coming off a 2012-13 season with Penticton that saw him go 25-15-0 with a 2.36 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage in 43 games. He also turned in four shutouts in helping Penticton to a 35-16-0-5 record and first place in the BCHL's Interior Division. In 15 playoff games, he was 10-5-0 with a 2.23 goals against and a .923 save percentage as the Vees advanced to the BCHL championship series where they lost to the Surrey Eagles, four games to two. A teammate of Notre Dame sophomores Steven Fogarty (Edina, Minn.) and Mario Lucia (Plymouth, Minn.) in 2011-12, Katunar was 13-2-0 in 20 regular season games with a 2.87 goals against and a .887 save percentage, as Penticton turned in a league-best 54-4-0 mark during the regular season. In the playoffs, the talented goaltender took over due to an injury and led the Vees to the BCHL title with a 12-3-0 mark in the playoffs with a 1.78 goals-against average and a .938 save percentage. He then backstopped Penticton to the RBC Cup as Canada's national Junior A champions.
Petersen is a 6-1, 175-pound goaltender who will begin his second full season with the Waterloo Black Hawks in 2013-14. The 18-year old puckstopper was 21-11-1 with a 2.97 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage while turning in three shutouts in his first full season at Waterloo as the Black Hawks finished third in the USHL's Western Conference with a 39-21-4 record. The Black Hawks fell to Fargo, three games to two in the first round of the playoffs as Petersen was 2-2 with a 4.26 goals against and a .881 save percentage. A very competitive and athletic goaltender that plays a technical style in goal, Petersen is a product of the Chicago Young American's midget program and was selected in the 13th round of the 2011 USHL Futures Draft. He played in the 2011 Ivan Hlinka Tournament and prior to the 2012-13 season was selected to play in the first-ever CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects game in Buffalo, N.Y. There, he played for Team McClanahan and made seven saves in the first 30 minutes of a 5-2 win. He signed a national letter-of-intent to play at Notre Dame in the early-signing period during November of 2012. Petersen is expected to join the Irish for the 2014-15 campaign.
Ripley is a 6-4, 195-pound defenseman who played in 46 games for Powell River this season, scoring two goals with 11 assists for 13 points while racking up 85 minutes in penalties. He helped the Kings to fourth place in the BCHL's Mainland Division with a 20-25-2-9 record in the regular season. In the first round of the playoffs, Powell River was defeated by Victoria, three games to two. Ripley recorded one assist in the five game series. During the season, he was selected to play for Canada West in the World Junior A Challenge that was held in Yarmouth, N.S. His squad lost in the gold medal game to the USA Select team that included incoming Irish forward Vince Hinostroza (Fr., Bartlett, Ill.) on the roster. The strong, skating blue liner played the 2011-12 campaign with Dawson Creek in the NAHL where he had two goals and 11 assists in 56 games while recording 63 penalty minutes. He was named the team's rookie of the year in his lone year at Dawson Creek. Ripley signed his national letter-of-intent to attend Notre Dame during the late-signing period and is expected to join the Irish for the 2014-15 season.
Red Line Report, another scouting service that ranks players for the NHL Entry Draft, ranks Petersen (140th), Ripley (188th) and two other Irish signees - defenseman Jordan Gross (Maple Grove, Minn.) 225th and forward Dawson Cook (Cadillac, Mich.) 306th overall. Both Gross (Green Bay Gamblers) and Cook (Green Bay Gamblers) will play in the United States Hockey League (USHL) during 2013-14.
Since 1969, National Hockey League teams have drafted 72 Notre Dame players, including four first round selections - defenseman Ian Cole in 2007 (18th overall by St. Louis), center Riley Sheahan in 2010 (21st overall by Detroit), defenseman Jarred Tinordi in 2010 (22nd by Montreal) and right wing Kyle Palmieri in 2009 (26th overall by Anaheim). Tinordi never played at Notre Dame.
The Irish currently have 11 players on their roster who have heard their names called at the NHL Entry Draft - senior Jeff Costello (Ottawa, fifth round in 2009), senior Stephen Johns (Chicago, second round in 2010), senior Bryan Rust (Pittsburgh, third round in 2010), senior Kevin Lind (Anaheim, sixth round in 2010), senior T.J. Tynan (Columbus, third round, 2011), junior Robbie Russo (New York Islanders, fourth round, 2011), junior Austin Wuthrich (Washington, fourth round, 2012), sophomore Thomas DiPauli (Washington, fourth round, 2012), sophomore Steven Fogarty (New York Rangers, third round in 2011), sophomore Mario Lucia (Minnesota, second round, 2011) and freshman Vince Hinostroza (Chicago, sixth round, 2012).