( Photo Credit: Daryl Marshke | UM Photography,D.Marshke )

By: Mark Allred | Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The 2020-21 NCAA season for the Michigan Wolverines came to an abrupt end today as the University’s hockey team was forced to withdraw from the Men’s Hockey Tournament due to Covid-19 protocols. In an article published today from ESPN Staff Writer Alex Scarborough, Wolverines Head Coach Mel Pearson had this to say after he received the news:

“I’m devastated for these players. These student-athletes have done a wonderful job all year of making sacrifices to get to this point of the year,” Michigan coach Mel Pearson said in a statement. “It’s unfortunate. I don’t completely understand the final decision, but I have to respect it.”

“They’ve given so much, and to get this opportunity taken away from them, it’s hard to swallow. I know it’s just a game, but it’s extremely important to these young men. It’s two years in a row now we’ve been denied an opportunity to compete in the national championship. It hasn’t quite sunk in yet.”

This is an unfortunate turn of events for the Michigan hockey club who had a decent season in the Big Ten Conference with a 15-10-1 record good enough for third place. Boston Bruins forward prospect and Michigan sophomore John Beecher’s year ended weeks ago after having season-ending shoulder surgery after appearing in 16 games, contributing 4-4-8 numbers.

Beecher sustained the injury back on February 14th, 2021, in a 3-2 loss to the Wisconsin Badgers. On February 28th, 2021, the Creator of the OHLWriters.me hockey website Dominic Tiano reported along with Boston Bruins Director of Player Development Jamie Langenbrunner confirmed the 19-year-old 6′-3″ 209-pound New York native who can play both up the middle and the left side.

The former 2019 first-round pick (30th Overall) of the B’s is expected to miss five to six months of action, which could have him ready for full ice training in the August-September 2021 timeframe. Beecher could return to Michigan for his Junior season with the Wolverines or be a participating NHL Bruins training camp attendee this fall. There are rumors of the Boston organization signing the young forward to an entry-level contract, but that information remains just what it is, a rumor.

Jack Becker Finishes Good Career in Ann Arbor, Michigan

For Bruins prospect Becker, today’s unfortunate withdrawal due to Covid-19 protocol ends his final year as a member of the NCAA Wolverines club. Jack, a Senior this season, ends a four-year career with Michigan that saw him appear in 124 games, posting 26-25-51 numbers. The 2020-21 season was one that Becker was elected team captain, which is always good for the character attributes to a developing professional hockey player.

Becker is a 23-year-old 6′-3″ 195-pound center who has some offensive talents regardless of his point production on popular stat websites. Jack has the ability to use his body effectively along the boards and around the opposing goal for that net-front presence disturbing the sightlines of goaltenders expecting to see a shot coming in from the point or jamming a rebound home from the dirty area below the hash marks and at the top of the key.

With the dream of winning an NCAA National Championship unfortunately over, Becker can take all the experiences that he had at Michigan, and the tutelage learned from College Hockey Head Coach and Legend Mel Pearson. Jack has the skillset right now to go pro if the Boston Bruins are interested in signing the former 2015 seventh-round selection to an entry-level deal and be placed in the American Hockey League with the Bruins top minor-pro affiliate, the Providence Bruins. With his NCAA commitment officially over with Michigan, he could sign an Amateur Try-Out and report to the Jacksonville Icemen of the ECHL to finish out this season as there are 16 games in the Jacksonville season to incorporate a taste for minor-pro hockey and continued evaluation.

With so much turnover in the AHL with minimal year contracts, Becker could better fit on the Providence Bruins roster next season (2021-22) with some departures either promoted to the National Hockey League or signing free-agent deals elsewhere to keep the pro hockey dream alive. I believe Jack could easily fit up the middle of a Providence third or fourth line. Becker brings a decent two-way game to the 200-foot sheet and positions himself well in tight areas all along, having possession with decent hands.

It’s hard not to see AHL Bruins head coach Jay Leach and Assistant Coach Trent Whitfield not finding any value in a player like Becker. Decent leadership, speed, skill, and who knows what type of player we see when the cage comes off after leaving a full-face protected developmental league and turning pro. I saw it on full display with now Boston Bruins forward and former 2016 NHL Draft pick Trent Frederic.

After leaving the NCAA at Wisconsin, he when to the Providence Bruins, and in game one of the regular season, yup, you guessed it, he dropped the gloves and got fully involved in life as a pro at probably the second-ranked league in the world. As many Bruins fans know, Frederic also got into a fight in his first career NHL game. I’m not saying Becker should go a certain route to the NHL but playing a heavy game has a trend of getting looks when this Boston Bruins club is in salary cap dire straights and need low cap hit plug-and-plays in the bottom 12 of the Boston lineup.