July 21, 2014
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Zach Werenski (Grosse Pointe, Mich.), a 6-foot-1, 201-pound defenseman, signed a National Letter of Intent with the University of Michigan ice hockey team on Monday (July 21). He will join the Wolverines for the 2014-15 season.
"This is an exceptional player who is coming in a little younger than most players," U-M head coach Red Berenson said. "I'm expecting Zach will be an impact player in our program. It's nice to see a kid so focused on school and hockey at the same time."
Werenski was a standout defenseman for the U.S. National Team Development Program Under-17 Team in 2013-14. He finished second among team defensemen in scoring with 27 points (seven goals, 20 assists) in 47 games, despite missing time in November due to injury. The U.S. NTDP U-17 Team notched a perfect 15-0 record against international competition, including wins in the Four Nations Tournament (Nov. 6-10), the World Under-17 Challenge (Dec. 29-Jan. 4) and the Five Nations Tournament (Feb. 5-9).
Werenski was called up for four games with U18-Team, where he was teammates with fellow incoming freshmen Dylan Larkin (Waterford, Mich.), scoring a goal in a 5-3 win on March 23 against Youngstown Phantoms. He was listed on 2014-15 NHL CSS Futures North American List released on July 8 as one of the top draft-eligible defensemen in the 2015 NHL Draft.
Playing against older competition throughout his youth hockey career, Werenski was a member of the Little Caesers U18 Midget Major team as a 15-year-old in 2012-13, recording 21 points (seven goals, 14 assists) in 28 games. He was teammates with Larkin on the Belle Tire U16 Team as a 14-year-old in 2011-12.
"The most difficult thing for younger players is the maturity level and social change going from high school to college, but Zach is mature beyond his years," Berenson said. "He's like Jason Botterill in that sense. I think he'll fit in really easily."
Werenski is the youngest freshman to enroll at the University of Michigan in the Berenson era, and joins four hockey alumni in the Berenson era who were 17 years old throughout their first season at Michigan.
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Contact: Jeffrey Weinstein (734) 763-4423