Knights forward Olmstead makes NCAA DI commitment
December 7, 2017
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are pleased to announce that forward Jack Olmstead has committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for the University of Michigan.
Olmstead, 19, is Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's leading scorer through 25 games, helping the team to a 16-6-3 start.
Olmstead's future home is rich with hockey history. The Michigan Wolverines lead NCAA Division I with nine national championships over their 91-year existence, but you don't have to tell Jack.
“It means everything," he said. "I grew up a die hard fan, going to Michigan hockey games; from going down to the GLI every year, to rooting for the football team. I’ve always loved the atmosphere. Everything about the program is top notch. The coaches, the players, the trainers, the strength coach, just everything. The moment I stepped on campus I knew it was a special place. It's really hard to put into words the feeling. It's just a dream come true.”
Michigan hockey alumni include Stanley Cup Champions, Hobey Baker winners, and dozens of NHL players. Olmstead is excited to get to work.
"I feel I'll bring skill and heart to the team," he said. "The guys in the program are world class hockey players. I want to be a great player obviously, but being a great teammate is also important to me."
The 5’10/170 lbs native of Troy, Michigan, has taken the NAHL by storm in 2017-18. Olmstead’s 13 goals and 12 assists in 23 games leads his team in points and is second-most among all NAHL rookies. His +13 is the fifth-highest total in the league, while his 1.09 points per game ranks eighth among players who have played in at least 10 games.
“We were excited when Jack signed a tender agreement with us last year,” said Knights head coach Tom Kowal. “The game film and the score sheet will tell you he's a really skilled forward. But what I think says the most about Jack is how many guys on our team want to share ice time with him."
Olmstead has been deployed across all lines and scenarios this season, including splitting time at center and wing, playing on the power play and penalty kill, and in overtime and the shootout, wowing with jaw-dropping goals along the way.
"He's hard to keep out of the rink," said Kowal. "He's here a lot-taking extra ice time, practicing his shot, helping teammates, doing the right things to help himself and his team improve. Michigan isn't just getting a really good hockey player-they're getting a really good person."
"Playing in the NAHL has helped me a ton," said Olmstead. "Just competing against bigger, faster, stronger guys has helped me grow a lot as a player. Everyone in this league can play and think the game at a very high level. My teammates and coaches have also pushed me every day in practice to be the best I can be."
While he continues to develop and improve his own game, the Knights are aiming for a Robertson Cup this season. Olmstead is concentrated on helping his team achieve that goal.
"Obviously we only have one goal, and that’s to win it all," he said. "We feel like we have the right coaching and the right team to make a run and win a Robertson Cup. Individual success comes directly from team success. We know what kind of team we have and what we are capable of achieving."
Through it all, the Olmstead has stayed grounded and appreciative of those who have helped him reach this point.
"I want to thank everyone that’s helped me out," he said. "My teammates and coaches have been monumental to me thus far. Coach Kowal gave me a chance to come in and play this year for the Knights and he’s been a great mentor and coach for me."