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Kerry Collins, Published July 11 2009

Moorhead skater gets spot at Select 15 camp

Eric Brenk might be the king of the understatement.

The 15-year-old hockey player from Moorhead was recently picked as one of 20 players to represent Minnesota at USA Hockey’s Select 15 development camp in Rochester, N.Y.

It took a great performance at the district camp in St. Cloud, Minn., last month when it hit him.

“It opened my eyes a little bit,” Brenk said. “I realized I might have a shot at maybe playing in college or something.

“It showed me that I just might be a decent hockey player.”

Decent indeed. About 200 kids from across the country are selected to play at the camp, which will run July 15-21.

It’s used as a proving ground for young players against kids their own age, and it gives college scouts a chance to get a look at some of the budding young talent in the country.

“This is early in the process for him, but this is going to give him some very good exposure,” Moorhead hockey coach Dave Morinville said. “He’s a skilled kid, and hopefully this shows him where he’s at and gives him some incentive to work even harder.”

Brenk, who is a big kid at 6-feet, 180 pounds, had a solid performance at the state camp – and turned some heads when scoring a hat trick in the camp’s championship game.

“I think it helped that I was on a good team, that’s for sure,” Brenk said. “Winning the championship helped a lot, and that was probably my best game.

“That was a pretty good time to have my best game.”

Brenk said he didn’t know what to expect when he went to the district camp, but being selected for the national camp shot his confidence way up.

“There was good skill there, and I was going there hoping to hold my own,” Brenk said. “This is probably the biggest thing that’s happened to me in my life as a hockey player.

“I’m looking forward to it. This is a real opportunity for me to work hard and play my best – and have a little fun, too.”

Brenk is in some pretty good company.

Other Spuds that have played at USA Hockey Select camps are Brian and John Lee, Jon Ammerman, Tyler Johnson and Brett Barta.

While the opportunity is a good one for Brenk, Morinville said that the incoming sophomore needs to use the experience as a stepping stone.

“Just because he makes it here isn’t a guarantee for anything,” Morinville said. “Yes, it’s a great opportunity, and he’s going to learn a lot for sure.

“But from this, he has to say, ‘Hey, I’ve got some potential here.’ He’s got to keep working harder, and more things like this will happen.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kerry Collins at (701) 241-5548.

Collins’ blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com