Maple Grove junior defenseman Jordan Gross (Notre Dame) knows he has some decisions ahead of them.
Should he stay or should he go?
Gross admits he’s facing a decision which has made life complicated for so many in his position. Does he go to the USHL, play for one of the league’s elite franchises, the Green Bay Gamblers, in the hopes of devloping into a better player by playing older, stronger faster competition?
Or does he stay at Maple Grove and try to lead a senior-depleted team back to the Minnesota state hockey tournament for only the second time in school history?
“I am probably at least once a week,” Gross said about his plans for next year. “I haven’t made up my mind but its tough to lean one way or the other.”
Gross said this after the second-seeded Crimson were upset by Hill-Murray in the quarterfinal round of the state tournament. Maple Grove then lost Friday to Eagan 4-1 in the consolation tournament ending its season.
If this were to be Gross’ last games at Maple Grove, it didn’t go the way he would have liked.
Hill-Murray flexed its muscle dominating Maple Grove’s defense including an inadvertant own goal scored by Gross in the 5-2 loss sending the Section 5AA champs to the consolation tournament.
The consolation game was no better with Eagan getting out its frustrations after suffering an upset to Moorhead.
That game very well could be Gross’ last and it leaves him thinking about the pros and cons for next year.
“Let’s start with the cons,” Gross said following the Hill-Murray loss. “I’d be leaving my friends and family behind. I’d be baling out on my teammates and not coming back means I don’t get another chance at trying to make the state tournament again. Pros are working on my physicality and it is one of the things I need to work on for college.”
What Gross is contemplating is something a few other talented junior defenseman are debating.
Blaine’s Michael Brodzinski and Grand Rapids’ Jake Bischoff (both Minnesota) are also in the same boat. Brodzinski is making his USHL debut this weekend with the Muskegon Lumberjacks while Bischoff has a few weekends under his belt with Omaha.
Do players like Bischoff, Brodzinski and Gross stay and attempt fulfill a dream for any Minnesota kid playing high school hockey or do they go beyond that and play in a league which could prepare them for college or a potential NHL career?
Bischoff’s undecided. Or is he. Bischoff told the Grand Rapids’ Twitter account he was coming back but minutes later told Slightly Chilled he was up in the air. Brodzinski said a few weeks ago he wasn’t too sure of his future.
“There’s two ways to think of it,” Gross said. “We had such a good season and you can leave on a high note but if you lose a playoff game like we did, it leaves a sour taste and it makes you want to come back.”
Once again Brodzinski and Bischoff are in the same boat.
Bischoff and Grand Rapids were trounced in their first playoff game this season. Brodzinski and Blaine reached the section final against Maple Grove where they suffered a 15-1 loss. Brodzinski was called for a five-minute major penalty and a 10-minute miscconduct leaving him in the penalty box for practically the entire first period allowing Maple Grove to run riot.
Gross already played three games with Green Bay this season scoring two goals before coming back to Minnesota for the high school season.
He got a taste of what to expect. Is it enough to make him stay or go?
“It was a ton of fun and it was a lot better than I thought it would be,” said Gross, who stated he could play with Green Bay for a few more games this season. “I am going to wait to make a decision until I know 100 percent its what I want to do.”