Erik Higby is coming home to play college hockey as the Shelby Township native has decided on Northern Michigan for next season.
NMU assistant coach Rob Facca was at Landon Arena in Topeka, Kan., for Friday night's playoff game, and the agreement was reached that will have Higby, currently with the NAHL's Topeka RoadRunners, suiting up for the Wildcats next fall.
"It feels great", Higby said Saturday morning. "I'll be able to see family and friends. It's exactly what I hoped for."
He will pursue a degree in sports management as his long-term goal is stay involved in hockey well after his playing days are done. Getting his college plans cemented also helped take a great weight off his shoulders.
"I'm relieved, really," Higby said. "It's taken a lot of stress off me."
Higby raised the bar in Topeka, setting a franchise record for total points in a season (80) which led the NAHL, and assists in a single season (53). Not one to get wrapped up in personal accolades, Higby remains focused on the goal of winning a championship.
"Getting college figured out was heavy on my mind," said Higby. "Now I can just concentrate on the rest of the season."
RoadRunners coach-GM Scott Langer is pleased with Erik's commitment.
"He's earned it, no question," said Langer. "I'm just surprised it didn't happen sooner. It's gratifying to see a player reach his goals with persistence and hard work. As an organization, we're all very proud of what Erik's done. He has proven himself to be a true RoadRunner."
Higby will be joining two former RoadRunners at NMU. Jared Brown (Lone Star Cavalry 2003-04, Santa Fe RoadRunners 2004-05) will be a senior next season and Reed Seckel (Topeka 2007-08) will join Higby as a freshman. Also on the Wildcat roster is Chad Pietila, who played midgets with Higby, and also played for the NAHL's Marquette Rangers.