Lincoln Stars forward Owen Michaels has announced his commitment to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, an NCAA Division I program in the Hockey East Association.
"It feels great to finally get this out of the way," Michaels said. "I’ve put a lot of work in the last couple of years, especially this year. It feels good for it to pay off and to join such a great program with a great coaching staff; I’m really excited."
Michaels, 17, registered 16 points (six goals, ten assists) with the Stars in the 2019-20 season. The Detroit, MI native ranked 2nd among Stars rookies in goals, assists and points. Lincoln selected Michaels with the 123rd overall pick in the 2018 USHL Phase I Draft.
"[Owen’s] potential is virtually unlimited," Stars General Manager and Head Coach Cody Chupp said. "His ability to play with skill, to think the game ... he’s a mature body for a young kid. He skates really well; he can play physical if he needs to. The big thing for him was consistency like it is for almost every kid that enters our league. To help people around you, to help your team succeed even when you're not on the power play or the penalty kill. ‘What does that look like for you? How do you round out your game and add for more tools to the toolbox?’ That’s what the college guys were waiting for."
The six-foot, 183-pound forward is projected to join the Minutemen during the 2021-22 season, joining fellow Stars forwards Spencer Smith and Josh Lopina.
"I think I had to develop into a player that was reliable in both ends, a two-hundred-foot player that plays consistently," Michaels continued. "Obviously that’s something I’m still working on, but I definitely feel as if I got better from the start of the year."
"As Owen went through the season, he became more and more consistent," Chupp remarked. "You saw more and more flashes of what we project him to be and what he could be down the road. As the consistency improved, all of a sudden, the colleges started to reach out and he gained a lot of interest. Obviously, with his commitment, it’s really telling of that. He committed to an elite Division I program that’s had a lot of success as of late. They see him as a guy who is going to come in and fuel that success when he gets there."
Since becoming a Division I NCAA program in 1993, the Minutemen have qualified for the NCAA tournament two times (2007 and 2019). In 2019, they secured their first Frozen Four appearance but came up short in the National Championship game against the University of Minnesota-Duluth.