GRAND FORKS — UND has landed its goaltender of the future.
Caleb Heil, considered one of the best 2006-born goaltenders in the United States, if not the best, gave a verbal commitment to UND late Wednesday night.
Heil called UND goalie coach Karl Goehring — on Goehring’s birthday, no less — to inform him of the news.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound netminder from Victoria, Minn., played for both Sioux Falls Power 16U AAA and the Sioux Falls Stampede of the United States Hockey League last season.
“I toured The Ralph with my Minnesota Machine team when I was 9 years old,” Heil said. “Ever since then, I’ve really had an interest in the rink and the program. I’ve toured it a few times since and I’ve always maintained that desire to be a Fighting Hawk.”
Heil’s decision came down to UND and Michigan. He visited both schools.
“Obviously, UND has a great coaching staff who care about their players,” Heil said. “They like to have good relationships there. That meant a lot to me. It really felt right to play for them at North Dakota.”
Heil has a lot of familiarity with Goehring.
His father, Jeff, played goalie at Bloomington Jefferson High School and had a number of head-to-head battles with Goehring, who played at Apple Valley.
In late July and early August, Goehring served as goalie coach for Team USA at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup in Slovakia and Czechia. Heil was the team’s starter, backstopping the Americans to a bronze medal. It was their first medal in the event since 2016.
“That was a blast,” Heil said. “Karl and I really work well together. That was a very cool experience to get to work with him for a couple weeks and preview how our relationship at North Dakota could be.”
Heil’s brief stint in the USHL last season was impressive for a player his age.
In nine games with the Stampede, who missed the playoffs, Heil went 5-2-1 with a .908 save percentage. The only other 2006-born goalie outside of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program to suit up in the USHL last season posted a .822 save percentage.
“It was definitely a privilege to get those nine games as a young guy in the league,” Heil said. “I thought the team played well and helped me build my confidence. It worked out well. The coaching staff did a great job easing me into the action.”
Heil will head back to Sioux Falls to play for the Stampede this season.
He’s currently a junior in high school and will come to UND in the fall of 2025 or 2026.
Notably, Heil is the only goalie currently on UND’s committed list.
Heil is familiar with UND freshman goalie Hobie Hedquist, who also played for the Sioux Falls Power program.
“That’s a cool connection, too,” Heil said.
UND has been on a roll recruiting in the last five weeks, landing commitments from forwards Andrew O’Neill and Ashton Schultz, defensemen E.J. Emery and Sam Laurila and Heil in net.