It's an exciting time for the University of Michigan ice hockey program, as a young, promising group of student-athletes return to Ann Arbor over the next few weeks to begin final preparations for the 2014-15 season. Over the next seven weeks, we'll introduce each of the eight new faces on the roster to give Michigan fans a first look at the freshman class. This week, Michigan's latest commit, Zach Werenski, checks in with MGoBlue.com.
Werenski, a 6-foot-2, 215 pound defenseman from Grosse Pointe, signed his National Letter of Intent on July 21 and is expected to have an immediate impact on Michigan's back line. 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. He is the youngest freshman to enroll at the University of Michigan in the Red Berenson era, accelerating his course work this summer to graduate from high school one year early.
After a busy offseason, Werenski is looking forward to getting his collegiate career under way at Michigan.
On his first visit to Yost Ice Arena ... My first real memory of Yost Ice Arena was when I was a freshman in high school. I got to see a great defenseman play, Jon Merrill, and I also remember watching Kevin Lynch, who is from my home town.
On how much time he spent following Michigan last season, and what he thinks he can add to the team ... I followed the team all season and I got out to (Yost) to watch them as often as I could. I always kept up with scores after a weekend series. I have a reputation of being an offensive defenseman, and I want to add that to the team this season.
On being the youngest player to play at Michigan in the Red Berenson era ... I've never really thought about being the youngest. I am just honored to play for Coach Berenson, and I am ready to step in and play, regardless of my age.
On the process of enrolling one year early ... It was a complete surprise to me when the Michigan coaches approached me in April (with the idea of enrolling early). At that point, I knew I wanted to be a Wolverine. Once I found out that I could reach my school requirements in the summer, I made the decision to come to Michigan this year. I was all in.
On what he learned about himself after dedicating most of the summer to schoolwork ... Taking five summer school classes has really been tough. It really made me understand how much I wanted to be at Michigan this fall. This will make me a stronger person and player because I've really learned how to be disciplined and forced me focus on getting the job at hand done.
On his favorite NHL player and who he models his game after ... Sidney Crosby is my favorite NHL player. I try to model my game after Jack Johnson.
On his interests away from the rink ... I grew up on Lake St. Clair, and I am always on the water. Golf is definitely my second-favorite sport. My favorite person to work out with is my brother.