After focusing on speed and finesse during last season's recruiting process, Lake Superior State has signed three players who will add size and strength to the lineup in 2007-2008.
Tyson Hobbins, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound right wing from Nipawin, Sask., Zac MacVoy, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound right wing from Livonia and Will Acton, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound left wing from Stouffville, Ont., will add much-needed depth at the forward position for the Lakers.
Hobbins is currently 13th in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League in scoring with 12 goals and 23 assists in 23 games with the Nipawin Hawks. He has impressive statistics despite playing as many as 13 fewer games than the players ranked above him on the SJHL scoring leaders list.
"I've only seen Hobbins on TV," said LSSU head coach Jim Roque. "(Assistant coach) Joe Shawhan compares him to Sandy Moger - strong on the puck and good offensively."
Moger was a tough 6-3, 200-pounder who totaled 74-67--141 for the Lakers from 1988-1992.
Acton and Laker defenseman Simon Gysbers were teammates with the Stouffville Spirit last season and will reunite in 2007-2008. This year, Acton has 11 goals and 11 assists through 24 games for Stouffville, an Ontario Provincial Junior Hockey League team.
"We wanted to find the Colin Nicholson/Steve McJannet-type player," Roque said. "Acton is a good all-around player like Nicholson or McJannet. He's good on the penalty kill and can defend the other team's best player, and he still skates well."
MacVoy is a transfer from Michigan who is playing this season for the Omaha Lancers of the United States Hockey League. He has four goals and eight assists through 19 games with Omaha. As a U-M freshman in 2005-06, he appeared in 20 games and totaled one goal and three assists.
"He's a Detroit kid, and it's always good to get kids from that area up here," Roque said. "They tend to do well here. Zac went to Michigan as a real young freshman and went back to juniors for a year. That year of college hockey experience will really help us. It will help with the pain of losing Michael George, who would have been a sophomore next year."
George, denied eligibiluty by the NCAA, left school and signed with the Fort Wayne Komets of the United Hockey League. Roque was disappointed to lose a recruited player, but understands George's pursuit of an opportunity to play immediately.
"He wants to play, and I understand that," Roque said. "I'm disappointed that we lost a really good player. I do know that Michael and his family can't leave here saying that Kris (Dunbar, director of athletics) and Tom (Boger, faculty athletics representative) didn't do everything they could to help him through this process."
In George's case, the NCAA questioned the protocol his high school followed in regard to repeating classes. The NCAA has strict guidelines for that process.
The departure of George, who was the fourth-leading scorer in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League last season, leaves the Lakers with only one extra forward on its roster.