July 3, 2014
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Zach Nagelvoort's dream of playing in the NHL seemed like a long shot just a few years ago. But a rise to prominence as a freshman goaltender at Michigan this past season coupled with a standout final year in junior hockey led to the moment this past Saturday (June 28) that young hockey players across the country dream about.
The Edmonton Oilers selected the Holland, Mich., product in the fourth round of the 2014 NHL EntryDraft with the 111th overall selection, moving Nagelvoort one step closer to a lifelong goal.
"I'm ecstatic," Nagelvoort said. "Obviously, it's a dream come true. Edmonton is one of the teams that I had spoken with and I thought there was a possibility that they'd be calling my name. I'm really excited to be part of their organization."
A teammate of Andrew Copp and Jacob Trouba in the Detroit Compuware youth program, Nagelvoort's rise to prominence as an NHL prospect was more gradual than his two former midget teammates. Despite putting up solid numbers in his final season with Compuware in 2010-11 (1.80 GAA, .921 Save % with U18 team), Nagelvoort was passed over by junior teams in the USHL Draft.
He plied his trade in the North American Hockey League for two seasons with four different teams, improving at every stop. The journey culminated in South Dakota with an outstanding late season run as a member of the Aberdeen Wings in 2013. He posted an 8-1-1 record with a 1.66 GAA and .949 Save %.
Then Michigan came calling.
"I was talking to my dad about it -- I have never been drafted by any team before," Nagelvoort said. "I never got drafted to the NAHL, to the USHL, or the OHL. When I was at those levels I was thinking, 'man, am I going to be able to make it to the next level?'"
Just three games into the 2013-14 season at Michigan, Nagelvoort made an unexpected debut in net for the Wolverines at New Hampshire on Oct. 18, when Steve Racine exited the game with a lower-body injury just over a minute into the third period. With the game tied at 1-1, the Wildcats poured it on the freshman goaltender, outshooting Michigan, 13-2, the rest of the way. Nagelvoort stopped all 13 shots, including a penalty shot late in the period, and made two more saves in overtime to preserve the tie.
That performance gave a glimpse of what lied ahead the rest of the season as Nagelvoort proved to be one of the top young goaltenders in college hockey.
In 24 games, he went 11-9-3 with a 2.20 goals-against average (15th, NCAA) and a .929 save percentage (6th, NCAA). His save percentage was second to Shawn Hunwick's .932 mark in 2011-12 on the school single-season record list. In his postseason debut, Nagelvoort set a new school single-game record with 63 saves, breaking Robbie Moore's previous mark of 61 saves set on Feb. 17, 1973, against Minnesota.
Nagelvoort's name was in the Michigan record books and also in the notebooks of NHL scouts, leading to a phone call on Saturday afternoon -- while playing golf with his dad -- that he won't forget.
"Now it's just kind of crazy," Nagelvoort said. "It shows that if you're just determined, you work hard and you persevere, it's so cool what can happen. It's just another step in the right direction for my hockey career."
Contact: Jeffrey Weinstein (734) 763-4423
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