Photo: Britta Lewis (Britt Photo's)
Last season Ian McCoshen made the move to the USHL from Shattuck St. Mary's to further his hockey career. While that wouldn't otherwise be noteworthy for most players, McCoshen did it as a high school sophomore, which is a rare feat in the top junior league in the country.
McCoshen, who hails from Hudson, Wisconsin was able to get his feet wet for the Waterloo Black Hawks last year, but has taken an expanded role in his second season.
Known primarily as a shut-down defenseman, the 6'3, 205 pound blue-liner registered six assists in 42 games for the Waterloo last season. However this season McCoshen has doubled his point total (5 goals, 7 assists) through just 33 games.
McCoshen told us over the weekend that his game continues to evolve.
"I try to keep my game simple and hard," the bruising blue-liner said. "My game continues to grow harder, and with more of an edge."
McCoshen has always been one of the top players in his age group in the country and was rewarded for his hard work this fall when he was invited by USA Hockey to represent the red, white, and blue in the World Junior A Challenge.
McCoshen was glowing when we asked him about getting to wear the USA sweater.
"That tournament was a once in a lifetime experience with a great group of guys and a great staff as well. It was the first time I was able to wear the USA jersey and it was a great feeling right before the first game," McCoshen gushed.
"This is the best of the best and I get to play with these guys, it was incredible."
McCoshen was the youngest player on Team USA, which came home with a bronze medal for their efforts.
With early verbal commitments becoming more and more commonplace, most premier players like McCoshen have already made their college decisions by this point.
McCoshen however is taking his time to make the right decision for his future. He's a year and a half away from stepping foot in a college classroom and won't rush to make up his mind on his future home.
The rangy defenseman has however narrowed down his options. McCoshen told Bucky's 5th Quarter Sunday that he's considering North Dakota, Nebraska-Omaha, Minnesota-Duluth, and Wisconsin.
McCoshen has been to visit all of the schools with the exception of North Dakota. He will make a trip to Grand Forks later in the hockey season to check out Ralph Engelstad Arena and the surrounding campus.
At just 16 years old, McCoshen is still one of the youngest players in the USHL. That's hard to believe sometimes when you watch the hulking blue-liner who is mobile and is playing major minutes for the 20-11-4 Black Hawks.
With McCoshen learning every day from head coach P.K. O'Handley who has coached former Badgers and current NHL'ers Craig Smith and Joe Pavelski, it's going to be fun to watch his development.
"The best advice that I have gotten has always been from Coach O' Handley. He has helped out a lot of great players and I am just trying to take it all in as much as I can."
Soak it all in young man.
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