Thursday, November 09, 2006

Saginaw gets Williams from Wisconsin

Wisconsin State Journal

Unhappy with a lack of playing time, highly regarded defenseman Nigel Williams left the University of Wisconsin men's hockey team.

Williams was in the process of withdrawing from school Wednesday and is expected to sign with Saginaw, a Michigan-based major junior franchise in the Ontario Hockey League.

"He was not a happy young man," UW coach Mike Eaves said Wednesday. "Hockey is very important to him. It's what makes him tick and feeds his self-esteem and all those important issues as an 18-year- old. He just felt right now this is what he had to do."

A second-round pick of Colorado in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, Williams appeared in one of the first 10 games for the Badgers. He was unable to crack the top seven of a veteran unit in part because his puck- handling and decision-making were not yet to the level Eaves wanted.

Williams, listed at 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, spoke last month of being "very frustrated" at not playing. He said it was reminiscent of a year ago when he didn't see regular playing time with the U.S. National Team Development Program.

"I thought I was going to be playing a lot more (with UW)," Williams said.

Eaves said the situation with Williams was similar to last season when sophomore winger Matt Auffrey left school and signed with Kitchener of OHL.

"(Williams) kind of wants to play now instead of being patient and growing," Eaves said.

Saginaw drafted Williams in the 14th round (263rd overall) of the 2005 OHL Priority Selection.

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