Poehling’s draft journey a brotherly effort

Aaron Vickers2017 Draft Center, Features, NCAA

Photo courtesy St. Cloud State Media Relations

Ryan Poehling swapped summer fun for summer school.

But with good cause.

Poehling, eligible for the 2017 NHL Draft, accelerated his studies to graduate high school a year early so he could join his older twin brothers, Jack and Nick, at St. Cloud University.

“Most of my classes were actually online,” said Poehling, 18th in Future Considerations’ Fall ranking for the 2017 NHL Draft.

“I got to go out to the cabin a lot and do stuff. I just had to bring my laptop. It was obviously a different summer with all the schooling I had to do. I mean, I really only got about two weeks off where I didn’t have school to do, and it wasn’t like a regular schedule where I had to go in for six hours a day.

“But it was definitely a different summer for me.”

And one well worth it for the Lakeville, MN native.

The extra work has allowed the center to accelerate both his schooling and his hockey career by finishing up early — all with his siblings at his side.

But rejoining his brothers on the ice — the trio were teammates for Poehling’s freshman and sophomore seasons at Lakeville North High in Minnesota — was only part of the reason the 17-year-old hit the books hard while others soaked in the sun.

“They were an influence for sure, but not as much as people think,” Poehling said. “They had their say in it but in the end it was up to me. That’s what made it best. It was my decision. At the end it came down to me putting in the work and I wanted to.

“I wanted to put in the work to get here. That was the decision I had to come down.”

So far, so good for Poehling.

He has four goals and six points in 15 games heading into a holiday break, and ranks as a potential first round pick as one of few collegiate competitors eligible for the 2017 draft.

Thanks in part to his brothers and teammates, Poehling is shielded from much of those extra-curricular pressures.

“It’s obviously hard to drown out but I try to give it my best,” he said. “I think that as it comes more and more near I think I’ll think about it more but I just try to focus on what’s at stake right now.

“You think about it, but you can only control what you can control. It doesn’t worry me too much. I try to focus on my game and the rest will take care of itself. I’m not too worried about that. What happens will happen. Where I end up is where I should end up.

“I just think that I’ve learned that from my brothers, and teammates…I’m still learning because I’m still young. Being on a college team, the majority of these guys have been through it. I’m just taking it from them, and it’ll help me through this process.”

Advice from his brothers has helped him on the ice.

And off.

Reaffirming Poehling’s decision to put in a summer of hard work.

“It’s obviously something special playing college hockey…but doing it with your two brothers is really cool,” he said.

“That adds on to the experience, not just on the ice but off the ice too. You have two brothers to hang out with all the time and just get things done like your homework and have someone to talk to when you’re homesick or something. It’s obviously good for me being so young having them two to look up to and ask about when you need someone to talk to.”