(Update) Pitlick says he’s college-bound to accelerate skill development

By Steve Gunn

MUSKEGON – Rem Pitlick said he’s passing up on another year with the Muskegon Lumberjacks because he wants to push himself and develop more rapidly as a hockey player.LSJ Logo incert

Pitlick, who led the United States Hockey League in goals and overall scoring last season, said in the spring that he was “99 percent” sure he would return to the Lumberjacks in 2016-17.

But yesterday the Lumberjacks confirmed that Pitlick will be enrolling and playing hockey at the University of Minnesota this fall, instead of waiting another year for college and returning to Muskegon.

Pitlick was selected in the third round of June’s National Hockey League draft by the Nashville Predators.

“I was fully planning on coming back to Muskegon,” said Pitlick, who was the USHL Player of the Year in 2015-16. “That was always the plan. But in the summer a couple of things happened. I got drafted, then went to camp in Nashville and the junior evaluation camp about a week ago.

“Seeing those other guys (at the camp) made me feel like I needed to push myself to get to that level.”

Pitlick said he was very fond of former Lumberjacks Coach Todd Krygier, who was unexpectedly fired by the team last month, but said he would have moved on to college hockey even if Krygier had not been fired.

Krygier has since been hired as an assistant coach by Western Michigan University. He was replaced in Muskegon by John LaFontaine, a former North American Hockey League coach.

“Coach Krygs was probably my favorite coach ever,” Pitlick said. “I had a great relationship with him. But I would not say that was a big reason.”


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