Muskegon Lumberjacks

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This article is about the USHL franchise founded in 2010. For the defunct CoHL/UHL/IHL franchise, see Muskegon Lumberjacks (1992–2010). For the original IHL franchise, see Muskegon Lumberjacks (1984–1992).
Muskegon Lumberjacks
Muskegon Lumberjacks.svg
City Muskegon, Michigan
League USHL
Conference Eastern
Founded 2010
Home arena L. C. Walker Arena
Colors                    
Black, Vegas Gold, Red, White
Owner(s) Chris Ferraro, Peter Ferraro, Ron Friedman, Joel Friedman
General manager John Vanbiesbrouck
Head coach John LaFontaine (2016–17)
Franchise history
2010–present Muskegon Lumberjacks

The Muskegon Lumberjacks are a Tier I junior ice hockey team in the Eastern Conference of the United States Hockey League. They play in Muskegon, Michigan, at L.C. Walker Arena. The Lumberjacks replaced the International Hockey League franchise (IHL) of the same name, which relocated to Evansville, Indiana, at the end of the 2009–10 IHL season.

History[edit]

Lou and Josh Mervis, under a company named Blue Ox Hockey, originally owned the Danville Wings when they promoted that team from the Tier II North American Hockey League to the Tier I United States Hockey League. However, after one season, the Mervis family sold the franchise and it was relocated to become the Indiana Ice in 2004.[1] The Mervis family had purchased the dormant Rochester Mustangs franchise to use as a new USHL team on the University of Illinois campus in Champaign, Illinois, but Josh Mervis agreed to be the general manager of the Ice for the first season in Indiana. After less than one season as general manager of the Ice, Josh Mervis left the team in order to focus on starting the Champaign team.[2] However, the new proposed arena project never took off and the family began to look elsewhere such as La Crosse, Wisconsin, Battle Creek, Michigan, and Louisville, Kentucky.[3]

In February 2010, the USHL approved the Mervis family's plan to reactivate their dormant franchise in of Muskegon for the 2010–11 season.[3] At the time, there was a low-level minor professional hockey team playing in the International Hockey League named the Muskegon Lumberjacks. The Mervis family then acquired the Lumberjacks name and folded the professional team with the new USHL team taking on the Lumberjacks identity that had been used on and off since 1984. The Mervis family retained the former owners of the Lumberjacks, Stacey Patulskey, Jeff Patulskey and Tim Taylor, as the managerial team.

The Lumberjacks had a fairly successful inaugural season. On November 9, 2010, forward Matt Berry registered the first hat trick in team history in a 5–3 win over the Chicago Steel. The Lumberjacks clinched a Clark Cup Playoff berth with a victory over the Steel at the L.C. Walker Arena on April 8. Lumberjacks forwards Ryan Misiak and Matt Berry and defenseman Alexx Privitera were named to the CCM Eastern Conference All-Star team. Misiak led the Jacks in both points and assists with 58 and 43, respectively. Berry led the club with 25 goals.[4] In the playoffs, the fifth-seeded Lumberjacks swept Team USA in the first round best-of-three series, then lost a best-of-five series 1–3 to the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders.[5][6]

In the 2011–12 season, Muskegon rebounded from an 0–3–0 start by winning six out of seven games from October 30 through November 18. The run put the Lumberjacks at 7–6–0 but a pair of losses to eventual Anderson Cup champion Green Bay Gamblers started a 2–9–2 slump, which led to the dismissal of head coach and general manager Kevin Patrick on January 13. Patrick was replaced by 15-year NHL veteran and 2003 Stanley Cup winner Jim McKenzie. The team would finish last in the Eastern Conference with a 17-35-8 record and miss the playoffs.

In late January 2012, the Lumberjacks hosted the inaugural USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game at L.C. Walker Arena, featuring the league's best talent eligible for the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Muskegon was represented by Matt DeBlouw, Mark Yanis and Czech winger Adam Chlapik. Team East beat Team West 5–3 in a game that set a record for event viewership on FastHockey.com;[citation needed] it was called by Lumberjacks' broadcaster Matt Gajtka and Youngstown Phantoms' play-by-play announcer Bart Logan.

The 2012 off-season began on a positive note as five players with Lumberjacks ties were taken in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Michigan State recruit Matt DeBlouw was the Lumberjacks' only active player to be drafted; he went to the Calgary Flames in the seventh round. Two Lumberjacks from the team's inaugural USHL season (Brendan Woods - Carolina, Jaycob Megna - Anaheim) and two of Muskegon's future prospects (Adam Gilmour - Minnesota, Doyle Somerby - New York Islanders) were also drafted.

In June 2013, the Mervis family sold the franchise to three former NHL players; brothers Chris and Peter Ferraro and John Vanbiesbrouck in June 2013.[7]

In the 2015–16 season, the team was able to tie with the Chicago Steel with 61 points each, landing them in seventh in the Eastern Conference and twelfth overall, but was not good enough to qualify for the playoffs. However, center Rem Pitlick was a bright spot for the team leading the league with 89 points (46 Goals and 43 Assists) in 56 games - a 1.59 points per game average. Pitlick was also the first Lumberjack to win an award as the USHL's 2015–16 Player of the Year and Forward of the Year, and being only the 22nd player to accept both. He was also named CCM Forward of the year, USA Dave Tyler Junior Player of the Year, made the All-USHL first team, named to World Junior A Challenge U.S. Select Team.[8] He was drafted in the third round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft by the Nashville Predators.

Roster[edit]

As of February 6, 2017.[9]

# S/P/C Player Pos Ht Wt DoB Hometown Previous team College commitment
0 Missouri Boyer, JoshJosh Boyer F 6' 2" 174 lb 1999-10-07 St. Peters, Missouri Fairbanks (NAHL) None
1 Czech Republic Brizgala, AdamAdam Brizgala G 6' 0" 220 lb 1998-06-19 Prague, Czech Republic HC Sparta Praha U20 (Czech U20) None
2 New Jersey Del Gaizo, MarcMarc Del Gaizo D 5' 9" 191 lb 1999-10-11 Basking Ridge, New Jersey New Jersey Rockets (EHL) UMass
4 Colorado Bukes, ColbyColby Bukes D 5' 11" 192 lb 1999-02-01 Littleton, Colorado Colorado Thunderbirds U16 (Midget AAA) Minnesota State
6 Missouri Farmer, TyTy Farmer D 5' 9" 167 lb 1998-01-06 O'Fallon, Missouri Youngstown (USHL) Michigan State
7 Minnesota McNeely, JackJack McNeely D 6' 3" 185 lb 1996-12-18 Lakeville, Minnesota Tri-City (USHL) Minnesota State
8 New Jersey Berzolla, ZachZach Berzolla D 6' 2" 200 lb 1998-05-28 Howell, New Jersey New Jersey Jr. Titans U18 (Midget AAA) Colorado College
9 Idaho Hanson, BoBo Hanson (C) D 6' 2" 203 lb 1997-11-13 Boise, Idaho Colorado Rampage U16 (Midget AAA) St. Lawrence
10 Finland Hakkarainen, MikaelMikael Hakkarainen F 6' 0" 183 lb 1998-01-26 Espoo, Finland Chicago (USHL) Providence
11 Michigan Howdeshell, KeeghanKeeghan Howdeshell F 6' 1" 208 lb 1998-02-24 Brighton, Michigan USNTDP (USHL) Ferris State
13 Michigan Adams, CollinCollin Adams F 5' 9" 172 lb 1998-04-24 Brighton, Michigan Honeybaked U16 (Midget AAA) North Dakota
14 Russia Svechnikov, AndreiAndrei Svechnikov F 6' 2" 188 lb 2000-03-26 Barnaul, Russia Ak Bars Kazan U16 (Russia U16) None
15 Washington (state) Van Wyhe, GarrettGarrett Van Wyhe F 6' 2" 186 lb 1997-04-30 Seattle, Washington Wichita Falls (NAHL) Army
16 New Hampshire Steeves, MattMatt Steeves F 6' 1" 196 lb 1997-10-04 Bedford, New Hampshire Sioux City (USHL) Notre Dame
18 Michigan Mitchell, TravisTravis Mitchell D 6' 2" 187 lb 1999-11-25 South Lyon, Michigan Honeybaked U16 (Midget AAA) None
19 Massachusetts Smith, WillWill Smith F 5' 11" 174 lb 1996-03-13 East Longmeadow, Massachusetts Moncton (QMJHL) None
20 Minnesota Bender, KobyKoby Bender F 6' 0" 203 lb 1997-07-15 Cloquet, Minnesota Minnesota Wilderness (NAHL) Minnesota–Duluth
21 Michigan Gilling, CaseyCasey Gilling F 6' 0" 182 lb 1998-03-25 Gaylord, Michigan Minnesota Wilderness (NAHL) Northern Michigan
25 Czech Republic Kondelik, JachymJachym Kondelik F 6' 6" 216 lb 1999-12-21 České Budějovice, Czech Republic HC Ceske Budejovice U18 (Czech U18) None
26 Michigan Russell, MarcusMarcus Russell F 5' 10" 165 lb 1996-03-06 Traverse City, Michigan Topeka (NAHL) Michigan Tech
27 New Jersey Del Gaizo, AnthonyAnthony Del Gaizo F 5' 10" 198 lb 1998-01-31 Basking Ridge, New Jersey New Jersey Rockets (EHL) UMass
29 Massachusetts Petruzzelli, KeithKeith Petruzzelli G 6' 5" 180 lb 1999-02-09 Wilbraham, Massachusetts Selects Hockey Academy U18 (Midget AAA) Quinnipiac

References[edit]

External links[edit]