Friday, August 19, 2011

Jacks forward Heinonen accepts scholarship from Michigan Tech

Press Release

Muskegon, Mich. – After honing his skills with the Muskegon Lumberjacks in the United States Hockey League, Tyler Heinonen will further dig his family tree’s roots into the Michigan Technological University hockey program.

Heinonen, a Delano, Minn., native, will join his cousins, Aaron, Chad and Blake Pietila, with the Huskies. His father, Steve, is a Michigan Tech alumnus, and he still has plenty of family in the Hancock-Houghton, Mich., area.

It came as little surprise that the prolific scorer accepted a scholarship the same day that Huskies Head Coach Mel Pearson offered it.

“I grew up watching Michigan Tech hockey, my dad went there and three of my cousins play there,” Heinonen said. “This is what everyone wanted. Most importantly, this is what I wanted. It couldn’t have worked out better.”

Pearson, entering his first year as MTU head coach, first watched Heinonen during the Jacks’ tryout camp in mid-June.

“The Lumberjacks’ tryout camp gave us a great opportunity to evaluate players,” Pearson said. “The L.C. Walker Arena is a phenomenal building that gets rocking for players and fans alike. The organization does an excellent job with the camp and I was very impressed with Tyler.”

Heinonen relished the opportunity to perform in front of dozens of Division-I coaches who took in the annual camp.

“That was a big advantage for me,” Heinonen said.“The exposure at camp was great, and I look forward to being scouted by all the NHL scouts that are at games, especially at the L.C. Walker Arena.”

“Players who play in Muskegon have a great opportunity to be seen by college and pro scouts alike,” Lumberjacks Head Coach Kevin Patrick said. “Our location and accessibility is excellent in terms of exposure.”

Patrick and all of the Jacks’ staff were impressed with Heinonen’s versatility.

“Tyler came to camp and did a really nice job,” Patrick said. “One of the biggest things he did was showed his ability to make plays – whether it was on the breakout or finishing plays and getting on the scoresheet. Every day, he made himself noticeable by making plays all over the ice.”

The Jacks selected Heinonen in the 14th round of the 2011 USHL Entry Draft (201st overall), shortly after he wrapped up a sensational prep career at Delano/Rockford, a cooperative high school program. The 6-foot, 190-pound forward owns the team record for career goals with 106 and lit the lamp 46 times in his senior year alone.

“I’m very excited to get to Muskegon and play in a league as competitive as the USHL,” Heinonen said. “The season can’t get here fast enough.”

(Nathan can be reached at

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