It's been a busy day for Southwest Prospects here today.
In addition to Colin Jacobs being ranked 10th by Central Scouting, our first Southwest NCAA Commit of the 2010-2011 season was announced today by the Topeka Roadrunners as Ft. Worth Native Michael Hill is announcing that he will attend the University of Alaska.
Hill is having another strong season despite not attending to go to the Waterloo Blackhawks who selected him in the top 5 of the USHL Entry Draft last spring. So far this season, he is in the top 5 in scoring league wide with 29 points (16G 13A) in 18 games played so far.
For his career in the NAHL, this is his 2nd full season in the NAHL where he scored 84 points in 63 games played and has Topeka get to the edge of the South Division Title and a Robertson Cup Spot when the Roadrunners lost to the St. Louis Bandits in 4 games last season.
He will start playing for the Nanooks which suprisly is in the CCHA and not in the WCHA where they in-state rival Alaska-Anchorage is located.
However, he will play out the rest of this season which will include a trip to the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament next month in Boston and with the team hosting the NAHL Robertson Cup Tournament this season, he will have a shot for sure to win the League Championship this season.
Currently the Roadrunners sit in 4th Place in the NAHL South Division with a record of 11-5-2 (24 Points) as the team sits just 1 point behind Amarillo and 4 points back of Wichita Falls as the rest of the South is looking to chase down the Tornado who's on a 14 game winning streak and has a league best 16-2-3.
Currently, the Alaska Nanooks are currently in 4th place in the CCHA with a 7-4-1 record (4-3-1 in Conference) and have traditionally been the stronger of the two college hockey teams in Alaska over the course of their history.
Congrats to Hill on this decision to head to the Last Frontier to play his College Hockey Career and he will be the 6th player from the Southwest to play in the CCHA if you count Ryan Daugherty who's currently with the Omaha Lancers (USHL) who committed to start playing at Northern Michigan next season.
He joins Chris Brown and Jacob Fallon (Michigan Wolverines) as well as CJ Ludwig and Erik Higby (Northern Michigan Wildcats) who also played for the Topeka Roadrunners last season when he won the NAHL Scoring & Player of the Year Title's last season.
Michael Hill Profile
Topeka Roadrunners Website
Alaska Nanooks Hockey Website
From the Topeka Roadrunners Website
In his second season as a Roadrunner, team captain and leading scorer Michael Hill has committed to play his Division 1 College Career at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks beginning in Fall of 2011.
His junior career began in Wichita Falls with the Wildcats in 2008-09, but he played only 12 games before choosing to leave the program. "I just never felt comfortable, never felt like I fit in there," Hill said of his time with the Wildcats. He had a modest two goals and three assists, but had caught the attention of Topeka Roadrunners head scout Tom Kelly, who had kept tabs on Hill as he played the rest of the season with the Dallas Stars Midget Team. The following season he easily made the Roadrunners roster and went on to score 31 goals, most on the team.
This season he was named team captain after spurning the USHL despite being a first round draft pick by the Waterloo Blackhawks. He has responded by producing at a torrid pace, leading the team with 29 points (16 Goals and 13 Assists). Now he has been rewarded with a Division 1 College Deal that he once listed as a short term goal. Getting it secured early in his final season of juniors is a blessing. "It's a huge relief, Hill said after Monday's practice. "Now I can focus on helping this team reach our collective goals."
Being named captain has been an honor, one that Hill regards with due reverence. "Topeka has a strong lineage of the captaincy and I hope live up to the expectations. "Though he doesn't view himself as a loud vocal leader," he says, "I try to treat everyone the same. Being a captain hasn't changed who I'm, how I prepare myself or how I deal with my teammates."
Roadrunners Head Coach/GM Scott Langer says, "Michael's every day work ethic is contagious. Most people see him for his ability to score goals, but he brings so much more to the ice then that." He added, "The Coaching Staff at UAF is well respected and will do a tremendous job in Michael grow as a player."
Hill plans to major in either physical therapy or kinesiology. With his junior resume, he had a few options to consider but choose UAF. "It wasn't easy", Hill said of the decision. "In the end, it was just like when I choose to return to Topeka. They really made me feel wanted and appreciated." He credits his family for providing support throughout the entire process.
"I've had a lot of big choices to make and they have helped me out so much. I'm grateful to have a strong support system at home. "Living life in the Alaskan interior is quite a departure from Ft. Worth, Texas, or Topeka, KS for that matter, but its unfazed. "I've been there before. Yeah, it's pretty cold but i'm not planning to be outside much a whole lot. I'll be there for school and hockey.
After College, Hill envisions a couple of different possible career paths. "I'd love to play hockey professionally, so we'll see what opportunities arise. If not, I will have a degree and a head start on a good career." There is one other facet he may choose to explore. "I might be interested in coaching hockey. We'll see what happens." He's had some really solid role models to inspire him in that direction during his time in Topeka. "Smacks (Scott Langer) and (assistant coach) R.J. (Enga) are the main reasons I came back to Topeka. I trusted them help advance my career and they did everything they said they would." He added, "They're the best coaches I've played for."
Playing for his coaches has been part of what fuels Michael Hill, but playing for his teammates, fans, and family is what he lists as his most rewarding part of playing junior hockey. As he continues with his follow Roadrunners in their quest for the Robertson Cup, the fans in Topeka can enjoy watching another young man entertains them with his skills as he grows before there very eyes.
Hill is the second Roadrunner from this years roster to secure his college commitment, joining Rasmus Tirronen who last month committed to Merrimack University. The Alaska Nanooks play in the CCHA. Hill will join another former Roadrunner, Aaron Gens who will be a senior at UAF next season. Hill and Tirronen are both slated to play in next months top prospect tournament in Warpole, Mass.
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