Story by Charlie Crowley, The Saint Reporter
Photo Courtesy of John Rothwell
There’s a lot of great hockey in Michigan. There’s the storied tradition of the Red Wings, the always popular Griffins, and heated rivalry between Michigan and Michigan State, to name a few. If you head just a little bit west of Grand Rapids, however, you’ll find some more elite hockey in the Muskegon Lumberjacks.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Lumberjacks, they are a member of the United States Hockey League, the only tier I junior hockey league in the United States. Players who play in the USHL are typically between the ages of 16 and 20, and are almost guaranteed to land an NCAA Division I scholarship. The USHL also boasts over 200 alumni who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League, including current Red Wings Justin Abdelkader and Jimmy Howard, and legendary Red Wing Gordie Howe. They have been around for a short time, since 2010, but have proved themselves in past seasons, including winning the Eastern Conference in 2015.
The Jacks are off to a rough start this season with a 1-4 record, with their lone win coming against the Waterloo Blackhawks. They suffered tough losses at the hands of the Madison Capitals (4-0) and the Chicago Steel (7-2), both of whom are Eastern Conference opponents. The team has been led so far in this young season by Brighton native and North Dakota commit Collin Adams with three goals and one assist, and by Matej Paulovic (1 goal, 2 assists), a native Swede and 2013 5th round pick of the Dallas Stars. Joey Daccord (Ottawa Senators, 7th round 2015), who is committed to Arizona State, has been the go to guy between the pipes, but is only 1-2 with a 3.72 goals against average and an .836 save percentage.
Although the Jacks are off to a rough start, the season is still young and will look to rebound and make a run at the Clark Cup yet again. The team is young, but luckily the rest of the league is too. Time will help the Jacks’ development, and hopefully their record too.