We’ve focused a lot on UNO’s incoming class of recruits the past week.
In addition to a series of blog posts outlining new recruits (for 2019, 2020 and 2021), we also had a special episode of our podcast — Mavpuckcast with Jason & Jon — analyzing the incoming 2019 recruiting class.
As we were doing that episode, we noticed a new recruit online — Kirby Proctor, a defenseman with the Des Moines Buccanneers (USHL).
We had assumed Proctor wouldn’t arrive at UNO until 2020. However, Proctor just signed a National Letter of Intent (NLI) with the University of Nebraska at Omaha Hockey program and will join the 2019 recruiting class.
Congrats to @mkesselring4 & @kirby_Kproc on signing their NLI’s last week! More Bucs punching their tickets into college hockey! pic.twitter.com/0vA7phFnbT— DesMoines Buccaneers (@bucshockey) November 26, 2018
Proctor is in his first season with the Buccaneers, and has 7 assists with Des Moines (5 on the power play) at the time of this writing. It sounds like he's a good two-way defenseman.
The Okotoks, AB, native played with the Bonnyville Pontiacs of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) last season. He had 5 goals and 20 assists.
When I was researching Proctor, I found a video from the bantam team he played with in the 2015-16 season (Pursuit of Excellence), where he was featured in this video:
Proctor mentioned having a goal of playing in the WHL (major junior hockey in Canada — which nullifies NCAA eligibility for players who participate).
Coach Gabinet recruited players out of the WHL when he was a coach at Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. Canadian college hockey doesn’t have the same restrictions as the NCAA.
Thankfully, Proctor decided to go the NCAA route. He will be 18 when he arrives in 2019, and a welcome addition to UNO's roster.
Gabinet & Co. had eight new players commit to the program this fall. Six of those players are natives of Canada. It will be interesting to see the direction the team takes as Gabinet makes his imprint on the UNO program.
If you “read the tea leaves” and look at the players coming in, they appear to be recruits with high hockey I.Q. — and tremendous upside potential.