Twins Christian, Cole Krygier granted releases from letters of intent with Wisconsin Badgers

April 26, 2018 GMT

Two defensemen who were expected to join the University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team in the fall have had a change of plans.

Badgers coach Tony Granato confirmed Wednesday night that Michigan twins Christian and Cole Krygier asked for releases from the National Letter of Intent each signed last November.

The releases were granted, and Granato said he wished the Krygiers well.

Their father, Todd, said the decision to change course had playing time and academic components.

“There’s no hard feelings on either side,” Todd Krygier said.

The Krygiers, both of whom were ranked among North American skaters for this year’s NHL draft, have since committed to Michigan State, where they’re expected to get regular time as top-six defensemen as freshmen next season.

That wasn’t a given at UW, with five regulars from last season’s lineup due to return in the fall and newcomers Ty Emberson and K’Andre Miller in line for heavy usage.

With Peter Tischke passing on offers to sign a pro contract to return for his senior season, the window of opportunity got smaller for the Krygiers to see the ice as freshmen.

“The boys felt like they wanted to get into a better position where they might have more opportunity to earn playing time elsewhere than not play at all for most of the first year,” said Todd Krygier, an assistant coach at Western Michigan and former NHL forward.

“It was that simple. And then the other side of it is, academically, we were uncertain whether or not they would be able to get into Wisconsin. They both cleared the clearinghouse, but they weren’t meeting the academic requirements to be admitted at this time to Wisconsin.”

From Novi, Michigan, the Krygiers play for the United States Hockey League’s Lincoln Stars. Cole has four goals, 15 assists and is plus-12 in 64 regular-season and playoff games. Christian has nine assists and is plus-10 in 54 outings.

Cole was ranked 149th in the final NHL Central Scouting draft rankings; Christian was 216th.

They gave Badgers coaches nonbinding verbal commitments together in August 2016, four months after Granato took over as coach.

Their sister, Grace, is finishing her first season as a member of the Badgers women’s soccer team.

“This was a big family decision that was very difficult because they wanted to be with their sister and their sister wanted them with her,” Todd Krygier said. “That’s what our family plan was.”

Christian and Cole Krygier were among eight players who signed with the Badgers last fall. Three more signed earlier this month, leaving UW with nine players projected to join the team for the 2018-19 season: defensemen Emberson and Miller; forwards Sampo Ranta, Dominick Mersch, Brock Caufield, Mick Messner, Roman Ahcan and Jack Gorniak; and goaltender Daniel Lebedeff.

Along with Tischke, the Badgers are due to return NHL draft picks Josh Ess, JD Greenway, Wyatt Kalynuk and Tyler Inamoto on defense.

It’s unclear whether the loss of the Krygiers will lead to the Badgers signing other players for next season.