Northern Michigan University has announced that seven student-athletes have signed a National Letter of Intent to attend NMU and play hockey for the Wildcats beginning next year.
Four of the signees are either a captain or assistant captain currently with their respective teams. Five of the signees are forwards with a defenseman and a goaltender.
“This is a big recruiting class with the bulk of them having been committed for two years,” said NMU head coach Walt Kyle. “We have big holes to fill beginning next year and they will have the opportunity to fill the holes which will be created. I am extremely happy with these guys.”
NMU signed the following forwards: Ryan Daugherty (6-2, 195), Sam Muchalla (5-8, 155), Reed Seckel (5-10, 175), Stephen Vigier (5-9, 160) and Dylan Walchuk (5-9, 170). CJ Ludwig (6-0, 175) is the lone defenseman, while Jared Coreau (6-4, 200) is the goaltender in the group.
Daugherty currently is playing for Omaha in the United States Hockey League. Originally from Allen, Tex., he currently has five goals and five assists for 10 points in 12 games. For the 2008-09 season, he recorded 16 points on six goals and 10 assists in 46 games.
“He is a big, strong power forward,” said Kyle. “Ryan is putting up good numbers this year.”
Muchalla, currently skating for Prince George in the British Columbia Hockey League, is the captain of the team. Hailing from Prince George, B.C., he currently has seen action in 25 games with 12 goals, 21 assists for 33 points. Last year, he had 53 points on 21 goals and 32 assists.
“He is a small forward with good offensive skills,” said Kyle. “Sam is a gritty competitor.”
Currently an assistant captain with Green Bay of the USHL, Seckel, also a Michigan native from Melvin, has skated in 12 games for the Gamblers this season. He has recorded four goals, six assists for 10 points. For the 2008-09 season, he had 11 goals, 41 assists in 60 games. Green Bay won the USHL Anderson Cup in 2008-09 as the regular season champions.
“Reed is a solid two-way player a very physical checker,” said Kyle. “He will remind longtime hockey fans of Joe West.”
Vigier, from Notre Dame, Manitoba, is the cousin of former NMU player J.P. Vigier who played for the Wildcats from 1996-00. A captain of Sioux City of the USHL, he currently has nine points on five goals and four assists in 14 games. He tallied 48 points for the 2008-09 season on 15 goals and 33 assists in 51 games.
“Stephen is a very slick offensive player. He has great vision and intelligence,” said Kyle. “He comes from a great family.”
Walchuk’s hometown is McBride, B.C. and he is currently skating for Vernon of the BCHL. After 20 games this season he has 12 goals, 21 assists for 33 points.
“Dylan is a great young talent. He is one of the top players and scorers currently in the BCHL,” said Kyle. “We are very fortunate to get this kid.”
Ludwig hails from Little Elm, Tex., and is the youngest son of former NHLer Craig Ludwig, who played in the NHL from 1982-99 for Montreal, New York Islanders, Minnesota (North Stars) and Dallas. He was on two Stanley Cup-winning teams during his NHL career (Montreal and Dallas). CJ is currently playing for Omaha of the USHL as is the team captain. He has four points all on assists after 15 games. Last year he had eight points on a goal, seven assists in 54 games.
“CJ is a solid two-way defenseman. He is an excellent open ice checker,” said Kyle. “He has great leadership qualities.”
Coreau, from Perth, Ont., is currently between the pipes for Lincoln of the USHL. He has appeared in 13 games so far this season and is 5-8-0 with a 3.22 goals-against average, with a .890 save percentage and a shutout.
“Jared is a big, good sized athlete,” said Kyle. “He will remind fans of Brian Stewart and Tuomas Tarkki.”