"Staying at Michigan"
NHL pick decides to return for junior season
Rangers will have to wait for the services of first-round pick
Al Montoya penned
the last chapter of his captivating off-season story Friday night,
informing Michigan coach Red Berenson that he was returning to school
for his junior campaign.
goaltender contemplated a jump to the professional ranks after the
New York Rangers used the sixth overall pick in last month’s
National Hockey League Entry Draft to take Montoya. The Glenview,
Ill., native rocketed to the top of the prospect rankings for the
2004 draft after being named the Most Outstanding Goaltender at
this year’s World Junior Championships, where he helped the
U.S. to its first gold medal in that event.
with my family and close friends of mine and when it came down to
it, my heart wasn’t fully into going professional. It definitely
was there with staying at Michigan,” Montoya told Inside College
Hockey. “This is the year for our team and I can develop just
as well at Michigan as anywhere else.”
in the fold, Michigan will likely start the 2004-05 season as the
nation’s top-ranked team. The Wolverines lost just one key
contributor – defenseman Andy Burnes – to graduation.
year you play at Michigan you’re expected to win and this
year is no different. It’s just that this year, the stakes
are higher,” Montoya said. “I’m glad I made my
decision early and now I can get focused on what I want to do and
get ready for the season which is right around the corner.”
participate in next month’s U.S. National Junior Team tryout
camp in Grand Forks, N.D., next month. Classes at Michigan resume