Saturday, January 22, 2011

Mihailovich commits to UMass-Lowell

The Muskegon Lumberjacks have announced that Micki Mihailovich has verbally committed to the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.

Mihailovich visited the Lowell campus Monday and Tuesday. He became the second Lumberjack to accept a scholarship to a Division I university in the past 10 days. In total, 12 of the 23 members of the Jacks’ active roster have made commitments.

“That’s why the USHL is such a unique and great league,” Lumberjacks head coach Kevin Patrick said. “Micki came to this league as a 20-year-old and earned a D-I scholarship. No other league in North America gives young men a greater opportunity to reach their goals – both as aspiring NHL players, and as recipients of a college scholarship.”

Mihailovich has a goal and six assists in his rookie United States Hockey League season and leads the league in penalty minutes with 160. The Westland native doesn’t hesitate to stick up for his teammates.

“Micki’s a warrior and will do whatever it takes for his team to have success,” Patrick said. “He’s great in the locker room and a great teammate.”

Mihailovich leaned on his family and coaching staff to lock in his decision. Patrick and Jacks assistant coach Dave Noel-Bernier urged him to find out during his visit what role his Lowell coaches envisioned him playing.

“I’m going to be able to go in and battle for playing time right away,” Mihailovich said. “I want to get better every year for four years and the dream is to play in the NHL.”

UMass-Lowell is a member of Hockey East and one of its clubs has won each of the last three national championships. Numerous River Hawks have gone on to have lengthy National Hockey League careers, such as that of longtime Edmonton Oilers star and coach Craig MacTavish. Many former River Hawks, such as goaltender Dwayne Roloson, currently are with NHL teams.

The university is well known for its science and engineering programs.

“The educational aspect was very important,” Mihailovich said. “No matter what happens with hockey, someday I’ll have a degree and a great job.

“Only playing in the USHL and then the NCAA can give me that sort of opportunity – to develop and be an NHL’er, and then be successful in life after hockey.”

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