Tucker Poolman: From A Dream to Reality

Tucker Poolman is an East Grand Forks native. Growing up in Grand Forks, he noted that he enjoyed playing with his brothers and friends, playing hockey, or hanging out. Tucker attended many University of North Dakota (UND) men’s hockey games, and that is when the dream started!

Tucker is your average college student. He likes watching movies and is currently watching the HBO series, Game of Thrones. He said that it is pretty good so far. He doesn’t have “any superstitions that are too crazy or strange hobbies,”as Tucker put it.  Due to his sentimental attachment to his home state, Minnesota, he enjoys supporting the Vikings and Twins. Being from a city like Grand Forks/East Grand Forks, where there so much support for all hockey teams from peewee to college, significantly impacted Tucker’s decision to attend UND to play DI hockey. He played for East Grand Forks high school and then went on to play for three years in Juniors. Before deciding to join Mark, who is a strength coach for the men’s hockey team, at UND for the 2013-2014 season.

At age 20, which is the oldest that a United States or Canadian player can be drafted, Tucker was selected by the Winnipeg Jets in the 5th round. Colton Poolman, his younger brother or little Poolman as the team calls him, said that while they were watching the draft at home. When Tucker’s name came across the screen, their mother, LeAnne started to cry. Mark, their father, was shouting. Tucker and Colton just looked at each other with stunned faces. In the years following being drafted has not changed Tucker’s ambitions in life, and he keeps grounded with his family.

Gage Ausmus, long-time teammate and friend, describes Tucker as “a massive human being.” Ausmus had nothing but very positive things to say about the junior defenseman. He stated “One of the best things about Tucker is that he has had to work for everything he has gotten, nothing has been given to him.”  He also said that Tucker “is a great role model for kids because he is proof that hard work pays off.” Tucker said with appreciation, “It was just a huge honor, but it doesn’t change much for me. I am still going to go out and do what I did before.” He is a natural leader and doesn’t let things get him overly excited. Little Poolman said, “It’s almost like he doesn’t have a heartbeat out there. Nothing get’s him overly excited on the ice. When I come back to the bench after a bad play and hang my head, He just tells me keep your head up.” These are some of the reasons Tucker was voted to be an assistant captain for the 2016-2017 season.

The Winnipeg Jets were pressuring Tucker to sign an entry level contract this season. Despite this he wanted to stay at UND to play with Colton and to finish his degree in business economics, which he expects to complete in three years. Colton and Tucker have never been able to play on the same team together even though they are only two and a half years apart. “Little Poolman”, as the team calls Colton, said that being on the team is such an honor to be able to finally play with Tucker in organized hockey. Tucker spoke with pride “You know it’s a little different, it’s not something I was used to. We just try and keep it professional”  when referring to working with his father and brother on the same team.

Outside of having a strong relationship with his family and friends, Tucker has a unique hockey career. After graduating from East Grand Forks, he went to play for the Wichita Falls Wildcats in the NAHL for the 2011-2012 season. Throughout 59 games (out of 60) of this season, he scored seven goals and made 22 assists. For 2012-2013, he started playing for the Omaha Lancers. He stayed for throughout the 2013-2014 season. During the second season, he was named USA Hockey Junior Player of the Year, and he also served as team captain. During that season with the Lancers, the defenseman set a franchise record with 25 goals with 26 assists in 58 games, which is exciting. Coming to UND has not changed Tucker’s ability to put points on the board. In 83 games, he has had 14 goals and 31 assists.  Already this season, he has one goal and three assists in three games.

During the off-season, Tucker attended the Winnipeg Jets development camp, which is a four-day long training event were they work with their professional coaching staff and players. After returning, he gave the enlightening remark on how he could improve his performance, “It helps a lot, lots of good players there obviously, but you know just seeing how an NHL team does things and you can learn from all the players and coaches.”

This season, with only seven returning upper classmen keeping the motivation up, is going to be an adjustment. Tucker said, “It’s just the nature of college hockey. Every year, it is a new group of guys, and you have to find each other’s strengths and weaknesses.” This is going to make a returning appearance at the NCAA DI men’s national championship more difficult. That UND won last season, UND won the national championship in Tampa, Florida. This ended a 16-year drought, this was also the 8th national title banner to be raised in the Ralph Engelstad Arena. When asked about keeping the focus said nonchalantly, “you try to put it behind you and keep working towards new goals and hopefully try and win again!” Tucker said that coming back from the win was an amazing experience and that the team is looking forward to making another long playoff run this year.dsc_1154

Carson Wentz- Look Ahead

Carson Wentz, a Bismarck native and a North Dakota State University graduate was picked second overall to the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2016 NFL draft. If you’re from North Dakota, then you need no introduction to Wentz. For those less familiar, he led NDSU to two out of the five consecutive FCS championships than NDSU currently holds. In his senior year he started in seven games and has a completion rate of 62.5% for 1,651 yards.  He also has 17 touchdowns with only four interceptions, along with six touchdowns for himself. Wentz was named to the College Sports Information Directors Association All-American squad for two consecutive years.

From an analytical standpoint, Wentz’s greatest strength comes from how he deals under pressure in the pocket. He is smart, and he knows when to run the ball and when to throw it. When he throws, it is high and accurate. His weakness comes from having issues with his footwork in the pocket and from locking on to the receiver that he is intending to pass to, which gives more time for defense to get to that intended player.

Coming from an FCS school, it is surprising to many that he was picked so highly.  During the first weeks of practice, it is starting to become evident that Wentz has a lot of growing to do before he will be ready to make his debut onto the NHL field. Head Coach Doug Pederson noticed that he has a wobble to the ball at times, but NDSU has seen this from him before, and a little wobble has never stopped Wentz in the past. Carson told reports this week that timing and accuracy are more important than how pretty the ball looks at the end of the day, as all rookies need to have time to get used to playing on a different level of playing. I am not saying that Wentz could not start this year and perform well if it was needed, but I do think that he needs some more time to mature.

 

 

http://www.nfl.com/draft/2016/profiles/carson-wentz?id=2555259

Wentz vs Goff:Who is Going First?

The Los Angeles Rams made a big trade this year to get to the number one pick, not that I can blame them, The Titans’ walked away with Los Angeles’ next top four picks (first, two second and a third) plus the Rams’ first and third round picks in 2017. They need to pick up a franchise quarterback and with options Carson Wentz (North Dakota State University) and Jared Goff (California), both are a shoe in for first round picks. The Rams have been lacking in the quarterback spot since Marc Bulger left town. This team is trying to compete in the NFC West with teams that have QB’s like Russell Wilson and Carson Palmer.

Carson Wentz is a good fit,because he is a very athletic and knows how to make plays in and out of the pocket. He also came from playing in a program that runs a very similar offence to what they already run. Wentz has a lot to prove coming from an FCS school. Many are questioning if Wentz can hold up under professional spotlight. One big question is how his wrist is going to hold up. Wentz was out starting in October for a broken wrist that needed surgery and only returned in January. Although he had a remarkable performance during the FBS championship game, was that just pure luck and does he have the ability to stop staring down his targets allowing defenses to read his passes?  Since the Rams did not pick up a free agent QB,Wentz has to step in right away and compete.This is a lot to handle as  starter in his rookie year.

Overall, I think that the Rams will take Wentz, he fits better into what the offense is already doing and they need a quarterback that they can develop into a franchise leader in a quarterback-laden NFC West.

Philadelphia Eagles (From the Cleveland Browns)

Jared Goff has been playing as starting QB for California since he was a true freshman and has been in scouts’ eyes since than. The Golden Bear signal-caller has the experienced the pressure that competing at a Pac 12 school provides. Goff has the ability to pick apart defenses and spends a good amount of time in the pocket allowing the receivers time to free up. He does come with some concerns, a big one is his frame at 6’4” and only 215 pounds, the question is if he can stand up to being hit by the large defensive players on a pro level. Goff also has a bad habit of not planting his feet when he throws.

The Eagles will pick Goff because they are looking to turn around a poor performing franchise . They also have a QB that has a few more years to play that would give Goff sometime to bulk up and to learn more.

Seattle Seahawks Schedule

Football season is right around the corner, that means one thing for me Seattle Seahawks!! It is second to none for me!! So, let’s talk a little about what our schedule means, the Seahawks have four preseason games. Starting the season in Kansas City on august 13th, which is the only 1:30 preseason game, followed by Vikings, Aug 18th, Cowboys, Aug 25, both these games being at home. We end the preseason at Oakland on September 1st.

This season, the Seahawks have 8 away games.Thankfully only two of these are in a row.

9-18: LA Rams

10-02: NY Jets

10-23: Arizona Cardinals

10-30: New Orleans Saints

11-13: New England Patriots

11-27: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

12-11: Green Bay Packers

01-01: San Francisco 49ers

With 8 home games

9-11:Miami Dolphins

9-25: San Francisco 49ers

10-16: Atlanta Falcons

11-9: Buffalo Bills

11-20: Philadelphia Eagles

12-4: Carolina Panthers

12-15: LA Rams

12-24: Arizona Cardinals