In wake of the news that Seamus Malone committed to the University of Wisconsin men's hockey team, two predictions came to life regarding the 15-year-old center.
Both came from Gino Cavallini, the former NHL winger who coaches Malone with the Tier I Chicago Mission under-16 team, and were directed at Badgers fans.
"He'll have you on the edge of your seat," Cavallini vowed. "You'll fall in love with this kid."
Malone, from Naperville, Ill., is weighing a lot of options about his future, but said he intends to play for UW coach Mike Eaves, likely in 2015-16. Malone made on oral commitment to Eaves earlier this month, choosing the Badgers over offers from Colorado College, Ohio State, Western Michigan and Yale.
"He's extremely outgoing," Malone said of Eaves. "I love that."
Malone, who turns 16 in May, tried out for the prestigious U.S. National Team Developmental Program in Ann Arbor, Mich., last week. He said an offer to play for the under-17 squad would be a "great option." He could also play in the U.S. Hockey League or return to play for the Mission before coming to Madison.
Malone, listed at 5-foot-9 and 160 pounds, is the fourth player on the Mission's midget minor club known to have committed to a college. Defenseman Jake Linhart, from Brookfield, is projected to come to UW in 2014-15. Anders Bjork, from Mequon, and Nick Schmaltz, from Verona, have committed to Notre Dame and North Dakota, respectively.
UW is known to have strong interest in at least three other Mission players: winger Christian Dvorak and defensemen Robert Nardella and Pete Tischke.
Although a freshman in high school, Malone said he made his college decision now because "there's no doubt" where he wanted to go after taking an unofficial visit to UW last fall. He said he considered the Major Junior route in Canada, but that he preferred to get a college education.
Cavallini, who played 667 NHL games with Calgary, Quebec and St. Louis, said Malone is a future captain, a two-way talent who has an intriguing blend of grit and finesse.
"He's very dynamic," Cavallini said. "The puck just follows him around."