ROCHESTER, Minn. – Rochester Grizzlies defenseman Michael Heitkamp has announced his commitment to play Division-III hockey at University of Wisconsin-Stout. Heitkamp will begin his college career in the 2020-21 season.
Heitkamp is in his final season of junior hockey and first with the Rochester Grizzlies. The 20-year-old Grand Rapids, MN native led all Grizzlies defensemen in points during the regular season with 36 (13 goals, 23 assists) in 43 games. He became the first Rochester defenseman to score three goals in a game when he did so Sep. 20 against Wausau. Heitkamp was also on the North American 3 Hockey League Central Division Top Prospects team this season. He has also appeared in two North American Hockey League games this season, one each with the St. Cloud Blizzard and Minnesota Wilderness.
“We are very excited for Michael on his commitment to Wisconsin-Stout. Coach Watkins is getting an exceptional hockey player and a great person. Michael has been one of our best defensemen all season and especially in the last two months,” said Head Coach Chris Ratzloff. “His deception and skating are two of his strengths, he sees the ice and moves pucks well. His sense of when to join the rush and his ability to get pucks through with a quick shot have given us a lot of offense from the blueline. I look to Michael to continue with a great playoff run and expect him to make an impact in his first year of college hockey.”
Heitkamp is the second player from the Rochester Grizzlies to commit to Wisconsin-Stout, a member of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Former Grizzly Vladislav Sorokin just completed his freshman season with the Blue Devils.
“I’m proud to announce my commitment to play college hockey and further my education with Wisconsin-Stout. Thank you to all who have helped me along the way,” Heitkamp said on Twitter.
Heitkamp and the Grizzlies start the race for the Fraser Cup Thursday on the road against Peoria. This is the first game of their best-of-three series against the Mustangs and is set for a 6:45 PM puck drop. Rochester returns home for game two Saturday at 7 PM. It is a Saturday Night Showdown game sponsored by Sterling State Insurance Agency. We’re also inviting all Rochester Youth Hockey Association kids to come out to the game. If players wear their jerseys to the game, they get free admission with a paid adult.