If Jake Bischoff (Minnesota) has learned anything this week, it is plans can certainly change.
Bischoff planned to join the Omaha Lancers in March after Grand Rapids’ potential run at making the Minnesota State Hockey Tournament. Mm-mm. He was wrong though. Grand Rapids was knocked out of the playoffs Tuesday and Bischoff thought about taking some time off before joining the Lancers.
“Someone called my dad and said they were in Fargo today,” Bischoff said. “And we said that’s perfect, it’s only three hours away so we made the drive.”
Bischoff arrived Friday morning in Fargo, long enough to introduce himself and meet his roommates before making his USHL debut in a 4-1 win over the Force. Bischoff was paired with Player of the Year candidate Nolan Zajac (Denver) among others throughout the game.
He was a minus-1 but Bischoff had moments during the game where he showed he was starting to adjust.
Bischoff, 17, was fighting in the corners for the puck and had no problem getting physical and delivering a hit if he needed to. He admitted after the game it was a change from the offensive style he played at Grand Rapids this season.
He used this year’s high school season to further established himself as one of the more prolific offensive-defensemen in the state scoring 40 points (11 goals, 29 assists) in 25 games this year. Bischoff, who committed to the Gophers in December, along with fellow juniors in Blaine’s Michael Brodzinski (Minnesota) and Maple Grove’s Jordan Gross (Notre Dame) are considered to be three of the state’s most talented defensemen.
“It was fast. Definitely faster but it was fun,” Bischoff said. “The guys showed me around, took me into their arms and I had a blast. It was a lot of fun.”
Bischoff said it was a bit of a whirlwind experience.
He arrived early enough to meet his two roommates, which he remembered were from Michigan but he had a little trouble remembering their names. The teammates he was referring to were Ken Babinski (Ferris State) and Scott Dornbrock.
Give Bischoff some credit. He did know his roommates were injured and he got the chance to know his teammates a bit better with Omaha getting back on the road and traveling to Sioux Falls for at 7:05 p.m.
The 6-0, 180-pound Bischoff, who actually favors Zac Efron a little bit, signed with the Lancers around the USHL Trade Deadline. With Bischoff being a high school free agent, it meant he’d have to play at least 10 games with the Lancers so he could be protected and on the team’s roster for next season.
With 15 games left in the season, it appears Bischoff will get in the games needed to stay on Omaha’s roster.
Yet that’s the only guarantee for next season. Bischoff said he’s undecided about spending next season in Grand Rapids or if he wants to stick with the Lancers.
“It’s still up in the air and I am not for sure either way,” Bischoff said. “It was a blast tonight and I will have to see how the rest of the season goes. At the end of the season, I’ll sit down with my family and we’ll make a decision.”
It appears he has made a decision on playing high school baseball in the future and it seems as if Bischoff might try playing Legion ball in the summertime.
Normally most high-school aged players in the USHL don’t return to school and try to take up another sport. Although Bischoff’s teammate, Tanner Lane (Nebraska-Omaha), did it last season. When Lane was with the Force, he returned to Detroit Lakes High School where he led the school to a Class 2A state title in golf.
Bischoff, a left-handed hitter, played catcher last season and attracted a number of Division I offers including one from Minnesota.
“I would like to try to still play baseball but it is getting to the point where I am not playing as much as I’d like to,” he said. “I might try to play a little baseball this summer.”