Nov. 20, 2008
Notre Dame, Ind. - Notre Dame hockey coach Jeff Jackson today announced that five players have signed National Letters-of-Intent to attend the University, beginning in the fall of 2009. The highly rated group consists of two defensemen and three forwards.
Signing National Letters-of-Intent to join the Irish beginning in September of 2009 are defensemen Sam Calabrese (Park Ridge, Ill.) and Cam Fowler (Farmington Hills, Mich.) along with forwards Nick Larson (Apple Valley, Minn.), Kyle Palmieri (Montvale, N.J.) and Riley Sheahan (St. Catharines, Ont.).
In making the announcement, Jackson said, "We're very excited about this group of players and have been waiting a long time for their arrival. This class is as good a class as we've ever had at Notre Dame. They will definitely be one of the elite recruiting classes in the country."
Three members of the incoming class - Calabrese, Fowler and Palmieri - play for USA Hockey's National Team Developmental Program. Larson joins the Irish from the United States Hockey League (USHL) while Sheahan, a second cousin of former Irish defenseman, Brock Sheahan `08, plays junior hockey in the Greater Ontario Hockey League (GOJHL).
Two members of the class - Palmieri and Calabrese - have been listed on the National Hockey League's Central Scouting "Players To Watch List," as of the end of October. Central Scouting identifies the draft eligible players with three ratings: an A Rating is a player that is a "Must See player" who is a predicted first or second round pick; a B Rating is a player of note with the potential to be a middle round selection (3rd-5th) in the upcoming draft; or a C Rating is a player that Central Scouting is tracking as a potential late-round choice. Palmieri received an A Rating while Calabrese was given a C Rating. Fowler and Sheahan are not eligible for the 2009 NHL Entry Draft but are expected to by first round choices in 2010. Larson was selected in last year's draft in the fourth round, 108th overall by the Calgary Flames.
Sam Calabrese is a 5-10, 170-pound right-handed defenseman who is currently a member of USA Hockey's National Team Development Program, playing for the Under-18 team. A quick, mobile defenseman with excellent offensive instincts, Calabrese has worked hard in his two seasons with the national program to develop his defensive game. In 19 games this season, he's recorded four assists with eight minutes in penalties. As a member of the Under-17 team in 2007-08, Calabrese played in 47 games with four goals and eight assists for 12 points. He joined the U.S. Program after playing the 2006-07 campaign with Team Illinois in the Midwest Elite Hockey League where he had 10 goals and 62 assists for 72 points in 70 games.
Jackson on Calabrese: "Sam is a very mobile defenseman with excellent offensive instincts who has improved his defensive game over the last two seasons. He's strong on his skates and can either rush the puck or jump into the play without the puck. He continues to develop his overall game."
Cam Fowler is a 6-2, 190-pound left-handed defenseman who is also a member of USA Hockey's National Team Development Program and plays for the Under-18 team this season. One of the most dynamic young defensemen in the country, Fowler brings outstanding offensive skills to the Irish roster. In 19 games this season, he ranks fourth on the Under-18 squad in scoring with three goals and 11 assists for 14 points. A year ago, with the Under-17 team, he scored two goals and added 12 assists for 14 points in 59 games. This past summer, he was one of the youngest players invited to the U.S. Junior National Team Evaluation Camp to compete for a berth on this year's Junior National Team. At the recent Four Nations Tournament in Lake Placid, N.Y., Fowler was a standout performer for the United States as he helped lead the team to the gold medal. He was the team's top scorer, leading the U.S. with five assists for five points in the four-game international tourney. A product of Michigan's Honeybaked Midget Minor program, he had eight goals and 20 assists for 28 points in his final season (2006-07). Fowler is expected to be a high first round draft choice in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and according to Red Line Report, an independent scouting review, "Fowler is so good he would undoubtedly be a top 3-4 selection this year if he were available."
Jackson on Fowler: "Cam is a dynamic player at the defense position. He's got great offensive instincts with great vision and ability to make plays with the puck. He's a gifted skater who plays the game with exceptional poise. He'll be a great power-play quarterback and potentially is as talented a defenseman as we've ever had at Notre Dame."
Nick Larson is a 6-2, 203-pound left wing in his second season with the Waterloo Black Hawks of the United States Hockey League (USHL) where he was a teammate of current Irish forward Billy Maday in 2007-08. A prototypical power forward, Larson is strong on his skates and plays a physical game. He has a strong and accurate shot and his size makes him a force in front of the net and in the corners. A fourth-round pick of the Calgary Flames in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Larson had 19 goals (12 on the power play) and 19 assists for 38 points for Waterloo in the regular season and then added three goals and two assists for five points in nine playoff games as the Black Hawks advanced to the USHL title game against Omaha. This season, in nine games, Larson has one goal and one assist for two points and 27 minutes in penalties.
Jackson on Larson: "Nick plays well without the puck and knows how to put himself in position to score. He's got a good shot with a quick release and is at his best when he plays with a physical edge. He can be a force on the power play especially in front of the net."
Kyle Palmieri is a 5-10, 180-pound right wing who is a teammate of Calabrese and Fowler with USA Hockey's National Team Development Program's Under-18 team. A highly skilled offensive player, Palmieri makes things happen on the ice. An offensive catalyst, he has a strong game at both ends of the ice. Last season, he started the year with the Under-17 team but moved up to the Under-18 squad. In 66 games between the two teams, Palmieri had 29 goals and 19 assists for 48 points. This season, he has five goals and four assists for nine points in 19 games. At the Four Nations Tournament in early November, he was second to Fowler in scoring with two goals and two assists in four games. His two goals were game-winning goals. The New Jersey native played hockey at St. Peter's Prep in 2006-07 where he had 22 goals and 36 assists for 58 points and was an all-state selection by the Star-Ledger. He also competed with the New Jersey Devils Under-16 team. Palmieri is projected to be a late first round pick in this year's 2009 NHL Entry Draft and is ranked 28th overall among all draft eligible players in the November edition of Red Line Report.
Jackson on Palmieri: "Kyle is a dynamic player who plays with a lot of jam. He's offensively skilled with excellent hockey instincts and is a fierce competitor. Kyle is one of those players that makes things happen on the ice. He has a great shot and has shown the propensity for scoring big goals at timely points of the game."
Riley Sheahan (pronounced Shay-han) is a 6-2, 195-pound center who is currently a member of the St. Catharines Falcons of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League's Golden Horseshoe Division. A talented offensive force, Sheahan brings size, speed and skill to the Notre Dame roster. A gifted playmaker, Sheahan is an outstanding skater and has excellent vision on the ice. His team currently leads the division with an 18-4-3 record and he leads the team in scoring with 17 goals and 31 assists for 48 points in 24 games. His goals include six power-play markers, four short-handed tallies and two game winners. In 2007-08, Sheahan led St. Catherines in scoring with 22 goals and 39 assists for 61 points in 45 games. Like Fowler, Sheahan could hear his name called in the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
Jackson on Sheahan: "Riley will be a dynamic player at the collegiate level. He has tremendous instincts for the game. He's a great skater with tremendous vision and puck skills. He's got all the tools; he's as complete a player as we've recruited from an offensive prospective and yet he's not afraid to get his nose dirty He's really developed his game over the last two years."
Notre Dame Hockey Class of 2009-10