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Badger Hockey Recruit Review: Christian Dvorak, Chicago Mission U18

The Badger Hockey Recruit Review will run every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the next five weeks. Today, we feature Christian Dvorak, a forward with the Chicago Mission U18 team.
2014 or '15
Chicago Mission U18
Frankfort, Ill.

Statistics Verbal Commitment

The Chicago Mission AAA program has turned into an elite hockey factory over the past several years, and Division I schools have taken notice. Notre Dame and Wisconsin have been two of the biggest beneficiaries, as both universities have landed multiple verbal commitments from Mission players over the past few seasons.

One of the most highly regarded players to lace up the skates for the Mission recently is forward Christian Dvorak. The Badgers were one of the first schools to start recruiting the Frankfort, Ill., native, and it paid off, as Dvorak committed to Wisconsin in August 2012.

"I felt it was the right fit for me," Dvorak told the Wisconsin State Journal. "I feel the coaches there can develop me into a more complete player."

Dvorak did his due diligence in the recruiting process, visiting Michigan State, Minnesota-Duluth, Nebraska-Omaha, New Hampshire, Notre Dame and Ohio State. Dvorak eventually narrowed his list to four schools before choosing the Badgers over Nebraska-Omaha, New Hampshire and Notre Dame.

Statistics Coach Comments

Chicago Steel (USHL) head coach and general manager Scott McConnell on Dvorak (Note: Chicago drafted Dvorak No. 6 in the USHL Futures Draft, and Dvorak played nine games with the Steel this past season)

"He's gifted," McConnell told Bucky's 5th Quarter in February. "He's a very, very gifted offensive threat. All around the ice he can score. He's fluid, he's sneaky. He's got very shifty skill.

"He's so smart, and so skilled and so gifted with the puck in the offensive zone that it's kind of fun to watch, it really is. He's a really good hockey player. Once he gets up to our level (full time) and starts to understand the defensive side of the game he's going to turn into a big time threat."

McConnell on the decision to have Dvorak play at the U18 level last season:

"Christian probably could have played with us this year," McConnnell said. "But, it's better to have a goal scorer continue to score goals than come up here and fight it here and there. I don't think there's much difference between (Dvorak) and (fellow Wisconsin recruit) Seamus Malone. I think they are two similar type players who both could have succeeded in this league. We decided to be patient with Christian and let him continue to score (at the U18 level) which he does quite often, and next year we're going to expect him to come up here and do the same thing."

Statistics Scouting Report

Former Chicago Steel (USHL) director of scouting and current Winnipeg Jets (NHL) scout Max Giese on Dvorak:

"Christian is a highly skilled, offensive forward who can score and make plays equally well," Giese said. "He has dynamic hands and great offensive instincts both with and without the puck. We liked Christian as a bantam and this past summer at the Select Festival and USHL Combine when he was seen as an undersized player. He has grown 3 inches this year and he is willing to play in the dirty areas, attack the net, and push the pace. He's an adaptable player who has been productive this year with any set of linemates and in any setting, and he makes those around him better with his heady play. He has also shown the ability to elevate his play in big games. Gino Cavallini and the Chicago Mission coaching staff have done a great job of preparing him for the next level, and Christian is the type of character kid from a great family who we are excited to add to our organization."

U.S. Hockey Report on Dvorak from the USA Hockey Select 16 festival (2012):

"Has a gifted set of mitts and is lethal on the man advantage. Right now the Chicago Mission product is a touch one-dimensional. Has to get bigger and stronger. Has a difficult time holding onto the puck when being checked. But he has a dimension in that when he touches the puck you know something is going to happen."

I've personally had a chance to go and watch Dvorak play on two occasions, and I was blown away both times. My first viewing came at the Central District tryouts in Fond du Lac, Wis., in the spring of 2012. Dvorak was incredibly impressive, creating scoring chance after scoring chance against the best players in the Midwest in the 1996 birth year.

My second viewing came last fall in a tournament the Mission U18 team was playing at in Blaine, Minn. Current Wisconsin assistant coach Gary Shuchuk and former assistant Bill Butters were in the building for the game I was at, and Dvorak put on a show. The rangy forward had five points in the game and was by far the best player on the ice at all times.

In the past I've compared Dvorak to an alligator. He appears to wait in the weeds looking for a chance to pounce, and once he sees his opportunity, he's gone. Dvorak is so intelligent on the ice it appears as if he's always thinking three steps ahead of everyone else.

To put Dvorak's talent into perspective, here are a few items of note: Dvorak led the Mission U18 team in goals, assists, points and was an incredible +63 in the plus/minus category.

Additionally, Dvorak led the High Performance Hockey League -- which includes Compuware, Chicago Young Americans, Honeybaked, Little Caesars and Team Illinois -- in goals, assists and points. Dvoraks's 52 points in 31 league games was 13 more than the second-best point producer.

A really, really nice pickup for the Wisconsin coaching staff. Blue-chip type talent.

Statistics Statistics

2012-13 Chicago Steel (USHL): 9 games, 2 goals, 3 assists, 5 points, +4, 2 PIM

2012-13 Chicago Mission (U18): 58 games, 35 goals, 57 assists, 92 points, +63, 8 PIM

Honors Honors

-- Selected to attend the USA Hockey Select 17 festival (2013)

-- Selected to attend the USA Hockey Select 16 festival (2012)

-- Selected by the Chicago Steel No. 6 overall in the USHL Future's Draft

-- Selected by the London Knights in the 8th-round of the OHL Priority Selection

Press Clippings Recent Press

Bucky's 5th Quarter: Chicago Mission pipeline to Madison continues with Christian Dvorak

Chicago Steel: Dvorak Buries Overtime Winner

Multimedia Audio / Video

Multimedia Twitter


More Info Additional Info

One (very minor) concern is that Dvorak has been selected in the OHL Priority Selection. The London Knights selected Dvorak in the eighth round of the 2012 draft. While it's highly unlikely that Dvorak would give up his college commitment to go to London, if any team has the ability to change his mind, it's the Knights. If you remember, London is the OHL franchise that lured away former Wisconsin recruit and current Edmonton Oilers forward Sam Gagner. Granted, I doubt we'll see London hiring Dvorak's dad to be an assistant coach like they did to steal Gagner from the Badgers.

Getting back to more relevant info, Dvorak originally committed to Wisconsin for either 2014 or '15, depending on his development and early departures. While the Badgers have a strong start to the 2015 and '16 classes, '14 looks thin at forward right now. At this point, I'd be stunned if head coach Mike Eaves didn't bring Dvorak in with the 2014 class.

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