MARQUETTE, Mich. – Northern Michigan hockey coach Walt Kyle announced today the signing of six student-athletes to National Letters of Intent. Ryan Black (Stillwater, Minn./Bonnyville Pontiacs), Connor Frantti (Spring Grove, Ill./Lincoln Stars), Jesse Junttila (Calumet, Mich./Jersey Hitmen), Troy Loggins (Huntington Beach, Calif./Sioux Falls Stampede), Atte Tolvanen (Vihti, Finland/Minot Minotauros), and James Vermeulen (Stoney Plain, Alta./Whitecourt Wolverines) will be joining the Wildcats in 2015-16.
Coach Kyle noted, “We are exceptionally happy to add this group of student-athletes to our line-up. Many of these players are leaders on their respective teams and many of these players are all stars in their respective leagues. I believe in this group we have several players who can have an immediate impact on our team and step-in to replace seniors who have moved on and we have several players who will begin their careers in depth roles and will grow into solid Division I players.”
Huntington Beach, Calif. • Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL) • F • 5-9, 160 • DOB: 7/21/1995
Scouting Report: An exceptional year in Junior A being selected as the MVP of the USHL play-offs after leading the USHL in play-off scoring during the 2014-15 season. He also was an integral part of his team winning the 2015 USHL championship. Troy is a dynamic offensive player with exceptional work ethic and grit. He should immediately fill an impact role for us.
Stillwater, Minn. • Bonnyville Pontiacs (AJHL) • D • 5-9, 170 • DOB: 1/23/1995
Scouting Report: Skilled offensive defensemen who is at his best when the puck is on his stick. Was an all-star in the Alberta Junior Hockey Leagues and one of three finalists for the AJHL Defenseman of the Year. Ryan will come in and threaten to play immediately and will remind fans of Scott Macaulay or Brock Maschmeyer.
Spruce Grove, Ill. • Lincoln Stars (USHL) • D • 6-6, 203 • DOB: 4/11/1994
Scouting Report: Captain of the Lincoln Stars in the USHL. He is a size and strength defenseman with good skating skills for a man his size. Has ties to the Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan Athletics and will join his cousin, Zach Diamantoni, on the Wildcat roster.
Calumet, Mich. • Jersey Hitmen (USPHL-Pr) • D • 5-9, 170 • DOB: 1/18/1995
Scouting Report: Calumet High School product who spent time in Marquette as he played for the Electricians Midget AAA team. Jesse is a hard competitor, excellent skater, and will play as both a forward and defenseman. In all likelihood will start his career in a depth role but has the character to work his way into the line-up.
Vihti, Finland • Minot Minotauros (NAHL) • G • 6-0, 188 • DOB: 11/23/1994
Scouting Report: Finnish goaltender who had an exception Junior A career in the North American League. Was an all-star in the NAHL after coming oversees from Finland. Will start in a back-up role to Mathias Dahlstrom but will grow into an exceptional Division I goaltender.
Stony Plain, Alta. • Whitecourt Wolverines (AJHL) • D • 6-2, 190 • DOB: 2/29/1996
Scouting Report: Good size, strength, and character as an excellent defender. In the final NHL Central Scouting Draft Rankings Vermeulen was ranked 203 and he was an AJHL all-star in 2014-15. This season James was one of Whitecourt’s assistant captains and was named team MVP. He joined Ryan Black as another one of the three finalists for the AJHL Defenseman of the Year.