August 17, 2011
Jacob Trouba wants to be known as a man of his word.
So when the highly touted defensive prospect is ready to make his decision whether to play in the OHL for the Kitchener Rangers -- who hold his CHL rights -- or the NCAA, there won't be any late de-commitments or promises broken.
"That's sort of why I haven't (committed), because I don't want to make a commitment and then back down from it," said the 17-year-old on Wednesday, while in Toronto to take part in the NHL's Research and Development Camp.
Much has been made out of the recent de-commitments from players such as J.T. Miller (North Dakota), Jamie Oleksiak (Northeastern), Connor Murphy (Miami of Ohio) and John Gibson (Michigan) who at one point had all given their word to play at those respective NCAA programs only to back out and head to the OHL instead.
In the case of Miller and Murphy -- who signed NHL deals this summer with the New York Rangers and Phoenix Coyotes, respectfully -- they would have been disqualified from playing in the NCAA as soon the ink had dried on their contract because of its rules regarding amateur players.
As a result, Trouba (above photo) says he's not going to make a decision any time soon, especially since he's still in the process of selecting an agent/advisor prior to heading back to Ann Arbor, Mich. For now, his only commitment is to a second season in the USHL with the U.S. National Team Development Program.
"My family and I have always been like that -- my parents have always told me that if I make a commitment, that I have to stick with it, at least until the end of the year and then I can do whatever," said the 6-foot-2, 193-pound blueliner. "So, I'm going to wait until I know for sure what I want to do and then I'm going to choose."
And that has to be at least some consolation for College Hockey Inc., executive director Paul Kelly, who seemed to take exception to those backtracking on their NCAA promises.
"Maybe it's the way I was raised,'' Kelly told the Boston Globe last week. "I'm a believer that when you make a commitment, you stand by it and honor it. It is disappointing to me. It's disappointing to coaches. When kids make a commitment, particularly when that commitment takes a more formal form in a letter of intent to attend that school, then you break that commitment, frankly, if I'm an NHL GM, it might cause me some concern - that a player I drafted can so easily walk away from a commitment he made.''
Trouba said he shares that belief.
"It's important because people have to trust you and what you say," he said of keeping his word. "If you keep backing out of decisions -- and all that, going back on your word -- then you're just going to get that reputation."
To date Trouba, who has a 3.3 grade point average, has visited his hometown University of Michigan and has also been courted by Notre Dame. But he said that since neither of his parents went to a big school, there's no clear favourite.
"I don't really have an alliance to a school I've rooted for growing up; Michigan's in the equation," said the native of Rochester, Mich.
Trouba said the changing face of NCAA hockey -- with the starting of the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference, putting some programs like Notre Dame in conference limbo -- has made his choice regarding the college route a bit more difficult.
"It's very big," said Trouba of the decision between the two paths. "School is where you're going for four years -- that's a four-year decision -- and the OHL you're not coming back (to the NCAA) if you go there. So you've really got to pick one way or the other.
"Then, you've got to live with your decision."