Wednesday, October 05, 2011

UNH Recruit Michael McNicholas: Where Will He Play?


Since this post was first written, "The UNH Men's Hockey Blog" has received confirmation that Michael McNicholas will play for the Muskegon Lumberjacks in the USHL.


In my previous post "UNH Recruits Prepare for USHL: Part I", I described the path that Michael McNicholas travelled leading up to the Muskegon Lumberjacks' training camp last month:
"Michael McNicholas - In the 2010 USHL Futures Draft, the Lumberjacks chose McNicholas in the 5th Round (62nd pick overall). He participated in the 2010 tryout and training camps and was named to the affiliate list. He got to play in one Lumberjack game in February. McNicholas was a full-time player for the Victory Honda team (Michigan) in the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League (midget major). He was the 8th leading scorer in the league with 12 goals and 34 assists in 40 games. In June, he tried out for the Lumberjacks again and made the 25-man roster. In July, McNicholas and Jordan Masters tied for leading scorer in the 2011 Youth Select 17 Player Development Camp. Although they are both 17 and born a month apart, Masters was chosen for the U.S. Under-18 Select Team and McNicholas wasn't. He is looking to surpass Masters' scoring totals in this, his rookie season in the USHL. McNicholas is expected to join UNH in the fall of either 2013 or 2014."
Michael McNicholas, a 17-year-old forward (DOB: 3/24/1994) was a member of the Lumberjacks' 25-man roster that participated in training camp throughout September. McNicholas played in all five of the Lumberjacks' preseason games, including the three games at the USHL Fall Classic. He scored 1 assist and had an overall +/- rating of +2. As of today, McNicholas is listed on the Muskegon Lumberjacks' website as a member of the 23-man active roster - with his picture and biography. However, a couple of announcements over the last week raise questions about McNicholas' status with the Lumberjacks.

All USHL teams were required to provide their 23-man active rosters before the League's season began last weekend. USA Hockey posted the active rosters for all teams including the Lumberjacks. Michael McNicholas is not on the list. Yesterday, the Lumberjacks' announced, through the Muskegon Chronicle, that they added a forward named John Padulo, a three-year veteran from the Ontario Hockey League, to their active roster. Padulo is also one of the 23 players on the Lumberjacks' roster listed by USA Hockey. These announcements raise the possibility that Michael McNicholas will not be on the Lumberjacks' active roster when they begin their regular season this Friday, October 7th against the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders.

All USHL teams have a 14-player "affiliate list" in addition to their 23-man active rosters. These lists for the 2011-12 season was posted by US Hockey Report (available through google search). Michael McNicholas is on this version of the Lumberjacks' affiliate list. As I mentioned above, McNicholas was on their affiliate list last season and was called up from the Victory Honda Under-18 team to play one game with the Lumberjacks. According information provided on the facebook page of the Chicago Steel:
"Players on the affiliated list can be moved to a team's active roster at any time and for any reason. If an affiliated player is moved to a team's active roster before the February 10 roster deadline, they will be eligible to play for the remainder of the regular season as well as the post-season. Affiliated players added to the active roster after February 10 will not be eligible to play in the post-season."
This suggests that Michael McNicholas could be called up to the Lumberjacks' and be moved to their active roster at some point this season. However, the question is, called up from what team? Could McNicholas start the season playing for his former team, Victory Honda? His name currently is not on their roster. There are a couple of Victory Honda players who are as old as McNicholas. Look for an announcement from the Muskegon Lumberjacks on Michael McNicholas' status in the coming days.

UNH Recruit Jordan Masters is on the Lumberjacks' active roster in all of the lists described above. In 4 preseason games, Masters scored a goal and 2 assists and was second in scoring among the Lumberjacks.


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