Thursday, October 3, 2013

Burkemper departs

On Wednesday, J.P. Burkemper, an oft-injured forward for the Mavericks, tweeted that he was "Leaving Mankato a little earlier than planned. Tough to say goodbye to a place with so many great friends and memories made. Cali tomorrow". Contacting him through Twitter, the senior said he's decided to move to California and turn pro. He said he has plans to try out for the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL.

Burkemper, 22, played in just three games last season before deciding to have surgery for a hip problem midway through the season. Injuries also limited him to 17 games as a sophomore. He played in 31 games as a freshman. The 6-foot-3, 195-pounder showed promise that season with his skating ability and his three goals and nine points.

I'm not sure what plans were in place for Burkemper this season, but, healthy, he certainly would have provided good depth up front. The Mavericks might have the most talented group of forwards in the WCHA, possibly in the country, but they currently have 13 forwards after the departures of Burkemper and Zach Lehrke, who announced earlier this week that he was done with hockey due to a medical condition.

I'm curious to see how the lines will look when practice starts on Saturday and the Mavericks play in their exhibition game on Sunday evening. One thing's for certain: the freshmen will play. In a teaser to my Sunday preview story for the Freep, coach Mike Hastings said the rookies (up front, Zach Stepan, Mike Huntebrinker, Jordan Nelson) will be called on to make an impact just as last year's (Teddy Blueger, Bryce Gervais, Dylan Margonari, Brett Knowles, Taylor Herndon) did.

Over the summer, reserve forward Charlie Thauwald, who played in just one game last season, transferred to Division III Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Last Christmas, forward Corey Leivermann, who had played in just two games over the first half of the year, transferred to Gustavus Adolphus.

1 comment:

crossjcek said...

Burkemper reminded me of Eriah Hayes in their respective freshmen seasons. I had hopes he would develop the same way. Here's hoping for a healthy year up front! I like seeing the hockey updates this time of year Shane but hopefully this is the last of it's sort.