The NCAA said Nic Kerdiles couldn't play for Wisconsin, but they never said he couldn't play at all.
While the UW freshman may not be eligible to join the Badgers until November 30th, Kerdiles has found a way to keep active during his NCAA punishment. Kerdiles is currently serving a 10-game suspension, which was reduced from the year-long ruling that was originally levied by the NCAA.
Thanks to some creative thinking by USA Hockey, Kerdiles has been picked up by his former club, the NTDP U18 team to play some games during his suspension.
Kerdiles played his first game Friday night for Team USA vs Minnesota, and was admittedly rusty.
"(Playing tonight) was awesome. I was obviously a little rusty out there," Kerdiles noted after the 2-2 tie vs Minnesota.
"I haven't played a game since the U-18 World Championships gold medal game in April but it was nice of USA Hockey to get me out here for a game and get the rust off. Especially against Minnesota."'
The Gophers are obviously Wisconsin's top rival, and any time you can help build that rivalry is a positive in the minds of Wisconsin fans.
Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves noted that it's a good opportunity for Kerdiles.
"It's an alternative for him, to keep him in the mix of games. It's a little bit of a silver lining in that situation," Eaves said.
"We wish he was here with us, there's no question, but at least he's keeping himself in game shape so when he does join us, he can jump right in and help us."
The idea for Kerdiles to join the U18's was proposed by USA Hockey, and Eaves mentioned that Wisconsin made sure the Big Ten and NCAA cleared it first.
"Jim Johannson (From USA Hockey) called and proposed it. Our compliance checked with the Big Ten very carefully, and it was given the green light."
The U18's have six more games left during the duration of Kerdiles suspension. Eaves noted that he expects Kerdiles to play as long as he can with Team USA.
"He's got four more weekends, that if they play, if they are active, he can jump on their roster," Eaves noted.
"As long as his school stuff is all in hand. Fortunately for Nic, he's a good student. He's been able to talk to his professors, and they've given him the green light."
Kerdiles will be in action with the U18's on Saturday vs D-3 St. Thomas. After that, look for the Badger blue-chip winger to jump in with Team USA in some USHL games.
**Nathan Wells from SB Nation Minnesota contributed to this post.**
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