The scouting report on Westin Michaud may ring a bell.
He’s an undersized forward known for his competitiveness. He’s a good goal scorer, particularly effective on the power play. He’s not afraid to mix it up with his opponents, and he’s a guy who his former coach says is someone you love if he’s on your team and despise if he’s not.
Michaud, who will graduate transfer from Colorado College to UND next season for his senior year, may give the Fighting Hawks a little bit of a Brett Hextall flavor.
UND’s history of having ultra competitive and tenacious players like Hextall, who also was an underrated goal-scorer, is something that was attractive to Michaud, who made campus visits to Western Michigan and Boston University before settling on UND.
“I was raised with a blue-collar mentality and they have a lot of blue-collar players on that team,” Michaud said. “Everyone wants to get better every single day and everything is a competition.”
Michaud said during his visit to UND, associate coach Dane Jackson was playing ping pong on the table in the locker room.
“He was going all out, trying to win,” Michaud said. “That’s the type of stuff I want to be surrounded by. That’s an atmosphere and culture I want.”
Michaud has spent the last four years at Colorado College. Because of injuries he didn’t play his first season. During the next three seasons, he gradually increased his point production from eight points to 24 to 30. He tied for the lead in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference in power-play goals with seven in 2018-19.
Michaud could have returned to Colorado College for one more year, but he opted to transfer. Because he’s graduating with a degree -- he’s a history major and an education minor -- he will be eligible to play right away.
“I just think something new was a good thing for me,” Michaud said. “My heart was telling me that I wanted to be closer to home, and additionally, my senior class left. A few other people left. I just thought, why not try something new? There’s no better place to do that than North Dakota.”
Michaud said he didn’t know which teams would reach out and be interested when he entered his name into the transfer portal after Colorado College’s season ended at the NCHC Frozen Faceoff.
“I really didn’t know,” Michaud said. “I was hoping that teams would reach out to me. They did. That was an excellent thing. A lot of hard work I’ve put in over the years has got me to where I’m going next year. I think that’s important and a good note for kids to always believe in yourself.”
- The NCHC (@TheNCHC) January 14, 2018
Michaud could play a key role next season for UND.
The Fighting Hawks are losing their top two centers -- Rhett Gardner and Nick Jones -- to graduation. Michaud played mostly center last season for the Tigers. UND also is looking for help on its power play, which finished last in the NCHC and 52nd of 60 college hockey teams. Michaud excelled in a number of different positions on Colorado College’s power-play unit.
But Michaud said that the opportunity to play a lot wasn’t the No. 1 factor in his decision to commit to UND.
“Obviously, the facilities are unbelievable,” Michaud said. “But the most important thing to me was team chemistry and the family base they have. When I walked in, I knew it was the spot after meeting the coaches and seeing how personable they were.
“That’s a close-knit group of players. They were disappointed in the season last year. One or two more games and they would have been in the tournament. You could see that fire in their eyes. They’re going to be ready to play next year and want to prove something. That’s the group I want to join. I’m on the same level. I have a lot to prove. I think we had a great connection and the family base was ultimately the biggest factor.”
Michaud said he plans to arrive on campus this summer to prepare for the season. He has big expectations.
“I want to go win a championship,” Michaud said. “I think North Dakota with their D-corps coming back and the forwards and goaltending they have there, they have a great chance to do it next year.”