After injuries shorten football career, former D-I defenseman commit heads back to the hockey rink – The Rink Live

Madison, Wisconsin – In this age of transfer portals where college athletes transfer like de facto free agents, Rosemount, Minnesota native Jake Ratzlaff has his own twist on things. With his previous success as a rink defenseman and ballpark linebacker, Ratzlaff may or may not change schools, but as of last week, he’s definitely changing sports.

When we first met Ratzlaff a few years ago, he stood out in three sports in the Twin Cities suburbs. ice. His original plan to turn his 3M arena in Mariucci into a college sports venue, he just had one problem.

As a Rosemount senior, Ratzlaff switched directions, switched sides in Border Battle, moved away from hockey for the Gophers, headed to Wisconsin, and played football for the Badgers instead. Last week, his athletic journey came full circle and Badger said that after spending several years and a few games in his football program, Ratzlaff returned to the ice and USHL’s Madison He made a regular shift to the Capitols defense. did.

Not surprisingly for someone who is as good at linebacker as he is at hockey, Jake Ratzlaff (2) was known on the hockey rink for his size and physical game.

Contribution / USA Hockey

“It felt great and I had a blast. It was my first USHL game in over two years,” Ratzlaff said in a phone interview with The Rink Live this week. He recently scored three games for the Green Bay Gamblers in the 2019-20 season, which was cut short due to the pandemic.He was a prep star for his Rosemount, and as a teenager, he played for USA Hockey. skated in the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup.

While he was enjoying his time with the Badgers on the grass, injury bugs made a decision that will affect Ratzlaff’s sporting future. My back problem appeared when I ran for hours. As for future choices, I chose the one with fewer doctor visits.

“It was basically either fixing my hips so I could run and play football, or go back to hockey and do nothing,” he said. “I’m going back to hockey. I don’t want to have[surgery]on my hip or anything like that if hockey is completely fine and fine.”

Jake Kratzlaff

Wisconsin Badgers linebacker Jake Kratzlaff, 25, during spring football practice on Saturday, April 9, 2022 in Madison, Wisconsin.

David Stluka/UW Athletic Communications

During his time away from football, he casually skated and occasionally rode on the ice with a badger hockey player, before officially leaving the Badgers football team in November, two games later. — and began training hockey in earnest. This included losing about 10 pounds because he prepared to defend against a streaking winger instead of slanting his tight end.

“I tried to get really, really fit and get back into hockey mode,” he said.

Jake Kratzlaff

Wisconsin Badgers linebacker Jake Ratzlaff poses for a headshot on Thursday, July 8, 2021 in Madison, Wisconsin.

David Stluka / Wisconsin Athletic Communications

He continues to attend school in Wisconsin and lives and plays in Madison.Ratslaf wants to play hockey for the Badgers if they’re interested in him.Wisconsin Hockey Coach , Tony Granat said in a text with Link Live that he had good things to say about Ratslaff’s character and that the Badgers coaches were looking forward to seeing him play, but that Ratslaff at Cardinal and White We made no promises about the future possibilities of .

“I’d love to play for the Badgers, but it’s all open right now. I’m not committed to doing anything, so I’m at the table for anything,” Ratzlaff said. I have to start playing more, my options are open.”

Defense of Ratzlaff.jpg

Rosemount High School defenseman Jake Ratzlaff (left) battles Hermantown’s Justin Thomas for the loose puck during a December 2018 game in Duluth.Clint Austin/Duluth News Tribune

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