Jackalopes duo of McLean and Miller make NCAA commitments
June 2, 2016
By Nick Nollenberger, Odessa Jackalopes
The Odessa Jackalopes, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are pleased to announce that former defenseman Drew McLean and forward Brennen Miller have both committed to play NCAA Division III hockey at National Champion University of Wisconsin Stevens-Point.
“Stevens-Point gives me an awesome opportunity to play for a champion and earn a great education,” said McLean. “The Jacks really prepared me for this opportunity and I’ll never forget my three years in Odessa. They were the best of my life so far.”
McLean (6’1/185), who was the Jacks co-defenseman of the year, was a major contributor on the power play scoring all five of his goals on the man advantage. The Waterford, Michigan native ended his final year of junior with 27 points (5goals, 22 assists), a +6 rating and 108 penalty minutes.
McLean is the Jackalopes career leader in games played (169) and penalty minutes (310). He is also the organization's career leader in points among defenseman with 55 (13-42-55) and power-play goals (7) for blue liners.
“I’m beyond excited to continue my hockey career at Wisconsin Stevens-Point. They have a great winning tradition and I look forward to being apart of such an outstanding school,” said Miller. “ I want to thank my family, all the people who have helped me during my hockey career and the Odessa Jackalopes organization. Coach Gatto was one of the best coaches I’ve ever played for and the Jacks organization was nothing but first class.”
Miller (6’3/210), who was traded for before Christmas from the Melville Millionaires (SJHL), was physical force once he jumped into the Jacks lineup in January. The Keller, Texas native tore his ACL in October and returned back to his home state of Texas after his acquisition from Melville scoring 19 points (9 goals, 10 assists) in 34 games with a plus-one rating and 14 penalty minutes (PIM).
A microcosm of Miller’s Jack’ career occurred in the first period of game one of the opening round playoff series against the Wichita Falls Wildcats when Miller broke his orbital bone under his left eye and stayed in the game for the remainder of the period tacking on an assist before the injury ended his game and season.
Miller is also an NAPHL graduate, having played for the Texas Tornado 18U team during the 2013-14 season.
“We’re really proud of both of those guys (McLean & Miller),” said Head Coach Greg Gatto. “Drew was one of our most consistent players for us all year and a reliable leader. He’ll go down as one of the best in franchise history… Miller’s combo of size and skill were dominant at times. He added a real edge and was huge in our playoff run.”
McLean and Miller will join former Jackalopes forward Lawrence Cornellier with pointers in 2016. Wisconsin Stevens-Point beat St. Norbert, 5-1, to capture the 2016 NCAA D3 National Title on March 26th.