Commie's take on early departures
When I talked to Mike Commodore a couple of weeks ago, I got his take on it. He still follows college hockey and UND closely, even though he's busy with his season. He easily rapped off every player that had signed and even knew Rastislav Spirko was engaged to a Slovakian girl.
Commodore left UND after his junior season (1999-2000) to sign with New Jersey. Looking back at his move, Commodore said he would have liked to stay.
"I'll be honest, I wanted to stay for my senior year. I loved being at UND and I wanted to stay there. But it basically came down to money for me. The way it was set up back then, if I stayed, I would have had no leverage in negotiating my contract the next year. I know it sounds greedy, but I left for purely financial reasons. Winning the national title (in 2000) helped, too. I really wanted to win a national title.
"It was one of the toughest decisions I've ever had to make. I wanted to stay, my heart said stay. But my head said I've got to go. New Jersey didn't put a lot of pressure on me and neither did (then-coach) Dean Blais. I just had to make my decision by a certain day.
"I know it's tough for the university to have guys leaving after their second and third years, and I don't know how you correct that. But when guys are getting signing bonuses close to a million dollars, it's tough to turn down. Mine wasn't half of that but...
"If you are offered a great deal, it's tough to turn down. If you could be guaranteed that same contract a year later, then I think guys would stay... but you aren't."