Rockford Hockey Player Makes The Big Leagues
It's a long climb from the rinks of West Michigan bantam leagues to the NHL, but one West Michigan man has made it.
Mitchell Chaffee Made His NHL Debut With The Minnesota Wild
Chaffee failed to get any points in the Wild's 2-0 shutout of the Montreal Canadiens, but he did manage to get a shot on goal in 7:33 of ice time. Chaffee was on the fourth line for the Wild, with fellow rookies Brandon Duhaime and Connor Dewar.
“It’s exciting,” Chaffee said told the Minneapolis StarTribune, prior to the game. “You dream of this day. I’m finally excited it’s here, and I’m looking to go out there and make a difference.”
Prior to getting promoted to the NHL, Chaffee was the top scorer for the Iowa Wild in the AHL with 22 goals and 15 assists in 45 games. Chaffee had just been on the ice at Van Andel Arena last Friday against the Griffins.
Back on March 4, Chaffee scored a goal in a 4-0 Iowa win over the Griffs at the Van, where his family and friends were on hand to watch.
The West Michigan Path To The Big Leagues
Chaffee grew up in Rockford and played for several Triple A travel teams in the Grand Rapids area before leaving home at 16 to play junior hockey for Honey Baked Hams Hockey Club out of Detroit. He also played for the 18-and-under US National Team.
Chaffee almost returned to West Michigan to play for the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the USHL in 2014, but his rights were traded to the Bloomington Thunder. He eventually earned a scholarship to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where he was the team's leading scorer for the Hockey East League during his sophomore year.
He was nominated for the Hobey Baker Award, which goes to the best player in college hockey.
In his final season with UMass, the Minutemen made the Frozen Four and lost in the title game to Minnesota.
He left school after his junior year when he was drafted by the Wild in the 2020 draft.
If he does well in this stint with the Wild, Chaffee could be in contention for a permanent spot next season with the club.
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