by John Peterson
With the 2014-15 season in sight, a former Austin Bruins forward decided his Division I hockey future Friday. Winger Brennan Sanford (Holt, MI) committed to play collegiately in nearby East Lansing for the Michigan State Spartans of the Big Ten Conference.
Sanford started his North American Hockey League (NAHL) tenure in 2012-13, appearing in 41 games for the now-defunct Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings organization. After the season, when the K-Wings ceased operations, he earned an opportunity with the Bruins for the 2013-14 season.
In 29 games for the Bruins, Sanford tallied ten goals and added eight assists before a midseason trade sent him to the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders of the United State Hockey League (USHL). In return, Austin received Minnesota State-Mankato commit Casey Jerry (Hudson, WI) to add depth at the center position, while Sanford made the most of the opportunity to play in the USHL.
The 19-year-old forward is scheduled to play another year in Cedar Rapids before likely joining the Spartans for the 2015-16 season. Sanford’s hockey career will come full circle when he steps onto the ice in the green in white uniforms at Michigan State. Before he started his junior career, he skated for the Lansing Capitals 18U team in 2011-12.
Following University of Minnesota goaltender Nick Lehr (Roseville, MN), Sanford becomes the second member of the Bruins 2013-14 roster to commit to a Big Ten Conference team, and tenth Division I commit in total.
Austin opens up the 2014-15 season Wednesday, September 17 at the NAHL Showcase in Blaine. The Bruins start with the Michigan Warriors, one of the four semifinalists last spring for the Robertson Cup, at 4:30pm at the Schwan Super Rink.