NMU goalie earns chance in NHL

With the 2012-13 season behind them, the NMU hockey team will be losing one of their own as their first-string goaltender reached a tentative agreement with the Detroit Red Wings.

NMU junior goaltender Jared Coreau has announced a decision to exit his NCAA eligibility early to sign a professional contract with the Red Wings’ AHL affiliate team, the Grand Rapids Griffins.

Coreau, who has one season of eligibility left in the NCAA, moved forward on the tentative agreement after receiving interest from six other teams, including the Chicago Blackhawks, Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers, Calgary Flames, Winnipeg Jets and the San Jose Sharks.

NMU head coach Walt Kyle said he is proud of the direction Coreau has traveled over the years playing for the Wildcats.

“We are really happy for him,” Kyle said. “Here’s a guy that came here with the intention of developing the skills to become a pro and he was able to do that. I think he deserves a lot of credit for the work that he put in and the way that he improved. We are certainly very proud of him and really happy that he is getting this opportunity.”

According to a tweet by TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the tentative agreement has been made, but the actual signing date is to be decided.

While at NMU this season, Coreau tallied an overall record of 15-19-4, a save percentage of .919 and a goals against average of 2.70. Coreau also opened every game with NMU this season, playing in 38 games during 2012-13 while being named CCHA Warrior of the Week twice.

Coreau said he was happy with the awards he received leading up to the decision to move to the Griffins.

“It was an honor to be recognized for both of those awards,” Coreau said. “It still doesn’t mean I am better than anyone else.”

On Monday, March 11, Griffins first-year head coach Jeff Blashill contacted Kyle following the Wildcats’ postseason loss against the University of Michigan in the first round of CCHA playoffs. Blashill was formerly the head coach of Western Michigan for the course of a year prior to becoming the head coach for the Red Wings’ affiliate.

Kyle said many athletes join the Wildcat hockey team with the aspirations to someday make it to professional hockey, but it is not an easy feat.

“We have a lot of guys that come in and signing a national league contract and moving out of collegiate play is their goal,” Kyle said. “Jared’s smart enough to know that just by signing a contract doesn’t mean you have made it yet. He will work extremely hard to maximize his talent and I would expect to see him someday in the National Hockey League.”

Coreau traveled to Detroit on Tuesday, March 19 pertaining to the tentative agreement. According to The Mining Journal, Coreau could begin a professional career with the Red Wings at a later date, foregoing joining the Grand Rapids Griffins.

“The team is moving into a league now that is going to be an even playing field,” Coreau said. “It’s going to be interesting to see how they do. The team will be playing against Tech a lot more, too, so that will be interesting for everyone.”

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