July 30, 2014
Notre Dame, Ind. - Notre Dame hockey coach Jeff Jackson today announced that Anders Bjork (Mequon, Wis.) has signed a national letter-of-intent to join the Irish hockey program for the 2014-15 season.
Bjork, the son of Irish hockey All-American Kirt Bjork `83, brings the list of signees to 13 with 10 of them set to join the Irish for the coming season. Expected to join the team this fall along with Bjork are forwards Bo Brauer (Edina, Minn.), Dawson Cook (Cadillac, Mich.), Jake Evans (Toronto, Ont.) and Connor Hurley (Eagan, Minn.); defensemen Nathan Billitier (Spencerport, N.Y.), Tony Bretzman (Mendota Heights, Minn.), Jordan Gross (Maple Grove, Minn.) and Luke Ripley (Kitamit, B.C.) plus goaltender Cal Petersen (Waterloo, Iowa). Cook, Gross and Petersen signed letters-of-intent in the fall of 2013 but deferred until this coming season.
Also signing letters-of-intent this year are defenseman Bobby Nardella (Melrose Park, Ill.) and forward Joe Wegwerth (Brewster, N.Y.) who are expected to join the Irish along with forward Andrew Oglevie (Fullerton, Calif.), a 2013 signee, for the 2015-16 campaign.
Bjork is a left-handed forward who spent the past two seasons with the United States National Team Developmental Program and played for the Under-18 team this past year where he finished sixth in scoring with 21 goals and 21 assists for 42 points in 61 games. Four of his goals came on the power play and five were game winners. A strong skater, Bjork brings versatility to the lineup and has the ability to play in all situations. The 5-11,182-pound forward was a teammate of incoming defenseman Nathan Billitier and forward Joe Wegwerth in Ann Arbor with the Under-18 team.
A member of the gold-medal winning Under-18 team World Tournament last April, Bjork was selected in the fifth round, 146th overall by the Boston Bruins in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft in June. He participated in the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects game in Pittsburgh last September. In 2012-13, as a member of the USA Under-17 team, he had 12 goals and 12 assists for 24 points in 56 contests.
A veteran of international hockey, Bjork played on two third-place teams at the Five Nations Tournament and the World Under-17 Challenge in 2013 while playing on the first-place team at the Four Nations Tournament in 2012, prior to winning the gold medal with the Under-18 team last spring. He is a product of the Chicago Mission Midget Minor team that advanced to the 2012 Tier 1 National semifinals.
Before coming to Notre Dame, Bjork will join fellow incoming freshman, Connor Hurley, among 42 invitees to USA Hockey's National Junior Evaluation Camp that will be held in Lake Placid, N.Y., August 2-9. That group of players will be competing for a spot on the United States team that will participate in the 2015 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Junior Championship that will be played December 26, 2014 through January 5, 2015 in Toronto, Ontario and Montreal, Quebec.
No stranger to Irish hockey, Bjork is the cousin of former Irish standout Erik Condra `09, who is currently a member of the Ottawa Senators. His father, Kirt, was an All-American at Notre Dame during the 1982-83 campaign and is currently tied for 12th on Notre Dame's all-time points list with 161 points, after notching 76 goals and 85 assists in 141 career games for the Irish. He is currently a Director of Regional Development in Notre Dame's Development office. Anders Bjork will become the fourth Notre Dame hockey player to follow his father's footsteps to play for hockey for the Irish. He will join current Irish left wing Mario Lucia (Don Lucia `81) and graduated players Kevin Nugent `13 (Kevin Nugent, Sr., `78) and Rory Walsh `06 (Brian Walsh `77) to play at Notre Dame after their fathers.
Jeff Jackson on Anders Bjork: "Anders has strong family ties to Irish hockey. His dad and cousin were both great Irish players and Notre Dame men. We expect no different from Anders. He's a very smart and skilled player. He makes other players around him better. Even though he is a young freshman, we expect him to contribute right away. More importantly, he is a great kid. He is an outstanding student and will be a great fit in our locker room."
Class of 2014-15
Player Pos. Ht. Wt. S/C Hometown/2013-14 Team Nathan Billitier D 5-10 180 L Spencerport, N.Y./USA Under-18 Team Anders Bjork LW 5-11 182 L Mequon, Wis./USA Under-18 Team William "Bo" Brauer RW 6-3 209 R Edina, Minn./Nanaimo Clippers (BCHL) Tony Bretzman D 5-10 165 R Mendota Heights, Minn./Langley Rivermen (BCHL) ** Dawson Cook C 6-1 198 L Cadillac, Mich./Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) Jake Evans C/RW 6-0 172 R Toronto, Ont./St. Michael's Buzzers (OJHL) ** Jordan Gross D 5-10 178 R Maple Grove, Minn./Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) Connor Hurley C 6-2 174 R Eagan, Minn./Muskegon/Green Bay (USHL) Bobby Nardella D 5-9 160 L Rosemont, Ill./Sioux City Musketeers (USHL) ** Andrew Oglevie RW 5-9 156 R Fullerton, Calif./Cedar Rapids Rough Riders (USHL) ** Cal Petersen G 6-1 175 R Waterloo, Iowa/Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL) ** Luke Ripley D 6-4 195 L Kitamit, B.C./Powell River Kings (BCHL) Joe Wegwerth LW 6-3 230 L Brewster, N.Y./USA Under-18 Team
** Signed national letters-of-intent in 2012-13 but deferred to 2014-15.