The commitments for new Michigan Tech head coach, Mel Pearson, continue to roll in. Last week, Tech Hockey Guide featured a piece on Pearson’s first three recruits since taking over this May. Now Michigan Tech has their first recruit for 2013, Jake Kauppila. A 16 year old forward (1/19/1995) from Gurnee, Illinois, the 6-foot Kauppila is “a devastating open ice hitter and seems to relish the games physical hustle and bustle” according to one source from The Scouting News.
Kauppila is likely to spend this season with Team Illinois’ Midget Major team before joining the Chicago Steel for the 2012-13 season. The Chicago Steel selected Jake 29th overall (2nd round) in the 2011 USHL Futures Draft. Kauppila considers himself a two-way player who can help out on the defensive end, with the skill on the offensive end to put the puck in the net. His stats with Team Illinois certainly show a great scoring touch, with 26 goals and 32 assists in 64 games over his last two seasons. The Scouting News agrees, “You don't have to be a rocket scientist to identify winger Jake Kauppila as a future D 1 NCAA kingpin type performer. He’s starting to come into his own as a two way threat.”
Much like Pearson’s first two recruits, Riley Sweeney and Jimmy Davis, Kauppila has good size and is a strong skater. He plays a strong game along the boards and will end up being a great college hockey player according to many scouts. Hopefully his skills develop properly over the next two years and Kauppila will have an immediate impact as a freshman in 2013.
Here is a little video that the USHL prepared before he was selected in the Futures Draft: