Caleb Rule quickly fell in love.
When the Lansing native got his first real hockey experience as a grade schooler, he instantly knew it was the sport for him.
And since then, Rule has done all he could to succeed on the ice.
“I didn’t get into the game until I was 8 or 9,” Rule said. “I started late, and from there I just loved it. On the ice – it felt like a home to me. I just loved watching the Red Wings and always wanted to be one. The goal and hunger to be there one day just got stronger and stronger. I just put in more work and more work and it got me to a great spot.”
It’s been a wild journey over the last several years for Rule that began by playing hockey locally to regular trips to play in Detroit leagues to now being enrolled at Shattuck St. Mary’s – a prestigious program in Minnesota that has produced numerous NHL players including Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby, Zach Parise of the Minnesota Wild and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks.
And the sacrifices of being away from family and his Grand Ledge friends have been all worth it for the 17-year old forward, who this week verbally committed to continue his hockey career at Ohio State.
“Ohio State, I’d been a fan of theirs ever since I could walk,” Rule said. “When I was presented with the opportunity to go there, it was almost impossible to say no.”
Rule, who has been enrolled at Shattuck St. Mary’s since his freshman year, said his time at the school and being around other highly skilled players has helped him make strides as a player and get to this point. He has noticed gradual improvement in his game since his freshman year, but believes last season was when everything clicked.
“Every year you come out here and you have tryouts and I was put on the 16U team again with a couple of my friends,” Rule said. “Being an older kid on that team, I really feel like I was able to kind of take over the team. I was seen as a leader because I had been on the team the previous year, I think playing the role of a leader and being the older kid, something just really clicked for me where I was able to get the confidence and tell myself ‘Caleb, you can do this, you can score and make these plays.’ The confidence and all of that just came with that.”
Rule has been one of the top scorers for Shattuck St. Mary’s prep team this season with 26 points (11 goals, 15 assists). He’s eyeing a strong finish to his time at the Minnesota boarding school this season before spending next season in a junior league making his final preparations for college hockey.
Rule was drafted by the Waterloo (Iowa) Blackhawks of the United State Hockey League and that is his next stop before heading to Ohio State.
“The age of a freshman in college for hockey now has escalated to 20.8 or something like that, so being a true freshman nowadays is rare,” Rule said. “The expectation for me is to make the (Blackhawks) and play there for a year or two and then head out to Ohio State.”