Des Moines Buccaneer forward Julian Napravnik has committed to play NCAA hockey at Minnesota State University Mankato after his USHL career.
“They have dynamic players already and they’re getting another one in him,” compliments Des Moines Buccaneer Assistant Coach Nate Weossner. “He’s the type of kid that can be a game changer at any time; he’s the kind of guy that you gotta watch out for because he’ll make a play at any second and I think he’s just going to be a good fit for them. He’s giving them more tools in their arsenal, for a toolbox that is already pretty full in Mankato.”
Napravnik (16-15-31 in 42 GP) currently sits third on the team in points and is tied with David Keefer for the most goals scored. While he’s been one of the leading scorers all season for Des Moines Napravnik has been red hot as of late; since February began he has scored 7 goals and 14 points in 12 games. Napravnik sits as high as he does statistically amongst his teammates despite missing six games in December while representing Germany in the World Junior Championship in Bremerhaven, Germany.
Napravnik not only wanted to play for Mankato but was very pleased that they very much wanted him to play for them. “They touched base with me all the time. It’s really nice that they are so interested in me and communicated with me very often,” explains Napravnik. “I visited in the summer and I really liked it. I think I’m a fast player and that’s what they’re looking for. A dynamic and fast player, good control with the puck. That’s my game style.”
We asked Coach Weossner why he feels that Napravnik’s game will translate well to the NCAA level. “He’s got a ton of skill and that’s something that always translates when you have as much skill as he does,” shares Weossner. “Really what he’s done is he’s decided that he’s going to have more influence on the game by competing and when he competes, his skill set shows up.”
Mankato has two freshman players that are from Germany in Marc Michaelis and Parker Tuomie and they certainly factored in to Napravnik electing to become a Maverick. “It’s a part of my decision. It’s great to have them again on my team. I played with them on the German program where I played (Jungadler Mannheim). I asked them about the university.”
Napravnik has scored four goals and two assists in the last three games and he and the Buccaneers are back in action this Friday when Des Moines hosts Sioux City. The game is Miller/Coors Night meaning Miller and Coors tall boys are two for one. For tickets call 278-2827 or online here.