Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) forward Brent Gates Jr. committed Sunday to the University of Minnesota.
The 17 year-old had reportedly decommitted from Notre Dame earlier this month. He's the first player with a prior commitment to end up at Minnesota, whose coaching staff has been one of the more vocal voices in the discussion over college hockey's Gentleman's Agreement (or lack of one).
Gates, listed at 6'2" 196 lbs, is second on the 8th place (out of 9 teams in the East) Gamblers with 13 points (5G-8A) in 18 games. He has nearly matched last year's scoring total already. He's responsible and can use his size although according to a scout his biggest skill is his shot.
Gates is eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft. Earlier this month he was listed as a "B" prospect (projected to go in the 2nd or 3rd round) by NHL Central Scouting. He also was one of more than 40 players who participated in the 2014 All-American Prospect Game this past September.
A native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Gates would be the first Michigander to play varsity hockey for the Gophers, according to the University of Minnesota hockey media guide.
He does have a family connection to the University, however. Gates' father, also Brent, played college baseball for the Gophers and was named the Big Ten player of the year in 1991. Gates Sr. also played two seasons for the Twins in a major league career that spanned from 1993 to 1999.
The Owen Sound Attack hold Gates' OHL rights, having drafted him in the 6th round of the 2013 Priority Selection.
If his timeline for next season is correct, that means one or more additional forwards that were planning on coming to Dinkytown in either 2015 or 2016 will have an extra year of juniors.
Nathan Wells is a college hockey columnist for SB Nation. You can also follow him on Twitter -- Follow @gopherstate