"When I first got [to Lincoln], it was a big adjustment," Bauer said. "But the town is just so awesome. The atmosphere here and the city, it’s just full of great people. The coaching staff just wants the best for you so it’s been the best time of my life, for sure. The thing that’s going to stick out to me the most is being around the guys every day and knowing we’re brothers for life."
Bauer, 18, appeared in 59 games with the Stars over the past two seasons, recording two goals and 12 assists.
"He's an unbelievable person," Michael said. "One of those kids that when he walked in and you saw him, you immediately smiled. I can’t say enough about who he is as a human being and it was a privilege to have him drive our culture in the right direction. He leaves Lincoln better than when he found it and is a perfect example of what we are looking for when bringing players into our culture."
The Broncos program first originated in 1973, playing in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA). They joined the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) in 2013-14. Western Michigan has qualified for the NCAA Division I National Tournament six times in their history, including their most recent berth in 2017. They currently sit eighth in the NCHC standings with a record of 3-8-3.
"This is what we’re here for: to advance guys to the next level and make sure they’re prepared when their name gets called," Michael continued. "We’re extremely happy. It’s a sad day for us to lose one of our leadership group members. But, like I said, this is what we’re here for. We fully support him in his decision to go in. I had a great conversation with Coach [Andy] Murray at Western. They’re facing injuries and down to six defenseman right now, so they decided that Jacob was ready to come in and help them out this year and start his college career.
It works out for everybody and we’re extremely happy to see another one of our guys get his name called by college hockey. That means we all are doing our part to ensure that these guys develop on a daily basis and are ready to take the next step whenever that opportunity comes."
Western Michigan is back in action on Friday night against St. Cloud State following their two-game sweep over Miami University.
"I’m super excited," Bauer remarked. "It’s going to be great to get up there and meet the guys [at Western Michigan] and see what’s next."