The Austin Bruins, proud members of the North American Hockey League, announced on Friday that veteran forward Jade Miller had committed to the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs NCAA DI program for the 2016-17 season.
Miller, the Bruins captain, led the team in goals season with 29, finishing just one shy of the Austin all-time single season record. He finished 2nd on the team in overall point scoring, with 51. He nearly tripled his output of 29 points (in 49 games) from a season ago.
“Jade has grown a lot this year,” said Bruins head coach Kyle Grabowski. “He’s in a completely different role this year than he was last year. He was a depth player, now he’s a top scorer in the league. That’s a testament to how hard he’s worked at his game.”
The Minto, North Dakota native was the only member of the Bruins to play in all 60 regular season games. He was named to the Central Division Top Prospects Team and scored a goal in each game at the Tournament. Some of the many highlights of Miller’s season include a seven goal performance over four days at the NAHL Showcase in September and a four goal game against Brookings on January 15th at Riverside Arena. He led the league in game winning goals with 11, capped off by the winner in the final minute of the regular season finale against Aberdeen on April 9th at home. Miller gives credit to his coaches and teammates for his success.
“They’ve really given me the reigns and put me in opportunities where I’ve been given chances to succeed,” he said about the Bruins coaching staff. “My teammates have been tremendous all year long, whether it be the guys on the power play or just my linemates who all season have been awesome since day one.”
The UMD Bulldogs are members of the NCHC (National Collegiate Hockey Conference), of which they are three-time tournament champions – most recently in 2009. They’ve made four Frozen Four appearances, winning their lone National Championship in 2011.
“They have tremendous coaches,” Miller said. “They have a tremendous program, coming up a win short the last two years to reach the Frozen Four, and a Championship back in ’11. It’s really on the rise and it’s a great hockey town up there and it’s just an awesome school.”
Miller becomes the first Bruin to commit to an NCAA school this season, and joins Jacob Paganelli (Princeton), AJ Drobot (Maine), and Luke Notermann (University of Minnesota) as currently rostered Bruins with Division I commitments.
“He’s done everything right so he absolutely deserves it,” Grabowski said. “We couldn’t have done what we did this year without him. He’s helped lead our locker room. He’s grown as a person and a leader over the course of the season. When schools are interested in him, he’s easy to recommend because he’s such a great person.”