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Kenai River Brown Bears forward Matt Rudin (left) fights for the puck against Fairbanks Ice Dogs forward Todd Burgess (right) in NAHL action. 

Hockey: Prospect likes opportunities on, off Ohio University's ice

Forward Matt Rudin — first recruited by former Ohio coach Dan Morris — values his continued education as much as his hockey career.

Ohio University might be known for its partying, but don’t tell that to Bobcat hockey prospect Matt Rudin.

While some students view Athens as a haven for cheap beer and red solo cups, Rudin is drawn to the town’s natural beauty and what it offers besides a national party ranking.

“I’m like an outdoorsy, fishing guy,” said Rudin, who is a self-proclaimed "Fish-a-holic," according to his Instagram profile.

“There’s a bunch of stuff to do around campus, in and out of campus,” Rudin said. “I have a couple family members that used to live there (in Athens) and I know there’s a bunch of state parks and whatnot.”

Rudin’s correct: there are seven Ohio state parks within 40 miles of Athens — his new home this fall.

His interest in the environment, however, runs deeper than merely a casual hobby.

Rudin chose Ohio because it offers environmental science courses in freshwater and streams — a topic that ties in with his love of fishing.

Though he hasn't even begun his undergraduate degree, Rudin is already looking toward “hopefully” going for his master's in Ohio's fisheries department.

Away from the classroom and the lakes, Rudin also enjoys angling for goals on the ice.

Rudin put up 73 points and 108 penalty minutes in 92 games for the Cleveland Barons U18, according to eliteprospects.com. In his first year on the Barons he played alongside current Ohio sophomore defenseman Jake Faiella.

“I think my biggest skill is my speed,” Rudin said. “I’m a really, really fast guy...but I have good vision.”

Following three seasons in Cleveland, Rudin — a Northfield, Ohio native who had grown accustomed to playing in nearby Cleveland — was drafted by the North American Hockey League’s Kenai River Brown Bears in Soldotna, Alaska.

Rudin said he enjoyed his two seasons of junior hockey, though he admitted the four-hour time difference made communicating with his parents difficult. It was also challenging for his folks to watch him play, since they were separated by 4,000 miles.

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Now that Rudin is coming home, in a sense, he’s excited about how close to a national title Ohio has been in recent years and hopes to help the Bobcats realize that dream.

And while he’s doing that, there’s a good chance he’ll have a couple of his biggest fans cheering him on.

“Another reason why I picked OU is because if my career does end during college and I don’t play after, I wanted my family to be able to come to my games,” Rudin said. “It’s only three hours away and if I was up in Lake Superior State or Northern Michigan (other schools he considered attending), it’d be like Alaska all over again.”

This article is the second in a series of five highlighting Ohio’s incoming hockey recruits for the 2015-16 season. Open tryouts will be held at Bird Arena in the fall, with details coming soon at ohiobobcatshockey.com.

@JordanHorrobin

jh950614@ohio.edu

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