Ferris State Defenseman Hopes To Compete In 2007 NCAA Frozen Four Event

Joe Van Culin
Joe Van Culin was chosen as an alternate for the West squad at the 2007 Pontiac Frozen Four Skills Challenge.

Ferris State University men's ice hockey senior defenseman Joe Van Culin (Monticello, Minn.) has been chosen as an alternate for the 2007 Pontiac Frozen Four Skills Challenge, which will take place during the 2007 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Frozen Four on Friday, April 6, at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo.

Van Culin is among 14 male alternates named to the West squad, which also includes five other skaters from Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) schools in Ohio State's Sean Collins, Curtis Fraser of Alaska, Miami's Marty Guerin, Tyler Howells of Michigan State, and Western Michigan's Paul Szczechura. Senior forwards T.J. Hensick of Michigan and Nebraska-Omaha's Scott Parse were selected by the NCAA as participants for the second annual event as were senior goaltenders David Brown of Notre Dame and Jeff Jakaitis of Lake Superior State, who will represent the CCHA on the West squad.

To be eligible, participants must have exhausted their collegiate eligibility and be nominated by their head coach. The players were selected by representatives from the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA), the NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Committee and the National Youth Sports Corporation. The competitions will include puck control relay, fastest skater, hardest shot, rapid fire shooting, accuracy shooting and penalty shot. Each competitor will receive a complete set of equipment and a full uniform from Nike Bauer Hockey.

The competition will be held in an East squad versus West squad format with each team having six male position players, six female position players, two male goaltenders and two female goaltenders. An alternate list has been established in the event that the participants have to withdraw from the competition due to other commitments such as their team's participation in the NCAA Frozen Four.

This season in 39 contests, Van Culin compiled a career single-season best 14 points on five goals and nine assists, both career season highs. He placed tied for eighth on Ferris' points leaders list while sharing top scoring honors among the Bulldogs' defensemen. The 5-10, 176-pound Van Culin scored three power-play goals and produced one multiple-point game outing with two assists versus Ohio State (Feb. 3).

Van Culin, who was Ferris' 2004-05 CCHA Scholar-Athlete, accumulated 10 goals and 24 assists for 34 career points in 134 contests. He posted a plus three efficiency rating while tallying four power-play lamplighters and two game-winning markers in his four-year FSU career.

Tickets for the event are $10 and can be purchased at the Scottrade Center box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster.com or by phone at (314) 241-1888. The Pontiac Frozen Four Skills Challenge will begin at 8:30 p.m. (EDT) and will be preceded by the Hobey Baker Memorial Award presentation at 7 p.m. (EDT) and the Hockey Humanitarian Award at 7:35 p.m. (EDT).

The Pontiac Frozen Four Skills Challenge and the Hobey Baker Memorial Award presentation will be televised live on ESPNU.

Former Ferris State goaltender Tom Mueller competed in the inaugural Frozen Four Skills Challenge last season at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wis., after initially being selected as a West Team alternate.

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