Marquette Rangers defenseman Kevin Gravel has verbally committed to play college hockey at St. Cloud State University of the WCHA.
The 6-foot-4, 174-pound Gravel, who won’t turn 17 until next March, said it’s been a bit of a process, but he’s glad he made the decision early.
“This really takes away from the pressure,” Gravel said. “It’s done, I’m happy with the decision and now I can just go out and play my game without worrying about this anymore.
“My dad played at St. Cloud, and I really like the school and the WCHA, so I went for a visit this past summer and I knew right then that it was where I wanted to go.
“They’ve been following my game for a little while now, and after I went over the summer things really took off with them showing interest in me, so I knew pretty much all along it was where I was going to play.”
Gravel, from Kingsford, Mich., picked SCSU despite receiving two other full-scholarship offers from Michigan State and Northern Michigan.
Both MSU and NMU also have family connections for Gravel. His older sister, Kelly, is a senior at Michigan State, and his mom, Kathy, graduated from Northern.
According to Marquette head coach Kenny Miller, Gravel has earned the opportunity to play college hockey at the Division I level.
“I know it’s very special for him to receive the kind of offers he did, and to get the opportunity through all of that to get the chance to play where his dad played,” Miller said. “As an organization we couldn’t be happier for him and his family. I know he’s relieved to have made the decision and we’re all proud of this accomplishment Kevin has earned.”
Gravel joins a growing list of current and former Rangers who are now playing, or have committed to play college hockey.
Five Rangers from last year’s squad have moved on to NCAA programs, including Nick Condon (Notre Dame,) Jake Hannon (Army,) Nic Weight (Wisconsin-Eau Claire,) Beau Christian (Hamline,) and Derek Grogan (St. Olaf.)
They join former Rangers Nick Kosinski (Northern Michigan) Brodie Zuk (Princeton) and Jake Hauswirth (Michigan Tech) at the collegiate level.
Gravel played Midget Major for the Marquette Electricians last season before making the Rangers squad during the summer.