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Several returning players will be key to the Muskegon Lumberjacks as they head into the 2022-23 season

Eastern Conference finalists a year ago, Muskegon head coach Mike Hamilton says "having experienced guys around makes a big difference in a lot of ways"

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The Lumberjacks and Capitols facing off.
Contributed / Muskegon Lumberjacks

MUSKEGON, Mich. — The Muskegon Lumberjacks are looking to build off of the run they had in the Clark Cup playoffs last season when they swept the Cedar Rapids Roughriders, then upset the Dubuque Fighting Saints, but ultimately fell to the Madison Capitols in the Eastern Conference final after pushing the series to five games.

All USHL teams see turnover in their roster every year, but the Lumberjacks have a group of players coming back for the 2022-23 season.

"Having experienced guys around makes a big difference in a lot of ways," said Muskegon head coach Mike Hamilton in a press release from the Lumberjacks, who's starting his fifth year with the team. "Second-year players grow a ton in terms of offensive production, they know the system and they provide leadership. They really help you get off to a good start."

2021-22 SEASON RECAP
The Lumberjacks cruised to a 33-23-0-6 record last season under head coach Mike Hamilton. They advanced to the Clark Cup playoffs where they made it to the Eastern Conference final, but ultimately fell to the Madison Capitols. Quinn Hutson led the team last year in goals with 33 and in points with 73 in 59 games. Jacob Guevin led the squad in assists, putting up 51 through 59 games.

OFF-SEASON UPDATES 

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  • The Lumberjacks announced Adam Phillips as assistant coach on July 7
  • Six Lumberjacks were selected at the 2022 NHL Draft
  • Associate head coach Cody Chupp leaves Muskegon to join the staff at Minnesota-Duluth as an assistant coach
  • Lumberjacks hire Parker Burgess as associate head coach

PLAYERS TO WATCH

  • Owen Mehlenbacher heads into this season after being drafted by the Detroit Red Wings 201 overall at the 2022 NHL Draft. Last season he put up 21 goals and 29 assists through 65 games in the regular season and postseason.
  • Tyler Hotson is one of the returners from last year's team. Not only is he bringing veteran experience, but last season he had 27 goals through the regular season, but also contributed in the playoffs with a pair of goals and assists.
  • Tyler Dunbar is another returner from last year's team. He had four goals and 21 assists in 61 regular season games played.
MORE USHL COVERAGE:
One week into the season, three players made an impact at the annual Fall Classic to earn honors of forward, defenseman and goaltender of the week.
The Rink Live's Kirsten Krull spoke with Robertson about the importance of the Fall Classic, the opportunity for the players the event provides, and what's next on the calendar for the league.
From the Fall Classic, only four teams in the USHL remain undefeated after two games played.
There was no lack of action around the rink on Day 3 as we saw teams rally and two games head into OT.
Day 3 of the USHL Fall Classic saw two games go into OT, but everyone's thoughts were with team USA when NTDP's Brady Cleveland went into the boards and was stretchered off the ice in the first period against Omaha.
The first 10 teams that arrived to the Fall Classic have wrapped up their two game road trip, and some went out with a bang.
Day two of the Fall Classic is in the book, and 10 teams have completed the first two games to officially get the season underway.
"Consistency. Consistency every day," said head coach David Wilkie. "Work to get better every time they touch the ice or even in the gym." That is the goal for the team as they head into the new year.
Hear from USHL commissioner Bill Robertson about how important of an event the Fall Classic is, and get up to speed on the first five games of the USHL season.
10 teams get their first game of their season underway at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.

ARENA NOTES 

The Lumberjacks play at Trinity Health Arena in downtown Muskegon. The venue has a capacity of roughly 4,000 fans for hockey games and was built in October of 1960.

The Lumberjacks will kick off their season on Sept. 22 at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Fall Classic in Pittsburgh as they take on the Sioux Falls Stampede.

Related Topics: USHLMUSKEGON LUMBERJACKS
Kirsten Krull covers juniors and prospects for The Rink Live. She is a 2020 St. Cloud State graduate, and has been working in the hockey world for over six years, covering many levels of the game from juniors to the NHL.
What to read next
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The annual event is taking place at the Lemieux Sports Complex from Sept. 22-25.
"We're on a bus heading here (Pittsburgh) with a team full of promise and potential,” said head coach Eric Rud about the team he has heading into the first week of the new season.
"We want to get really aligned on our culture and our team identity on ice," said Musketeers head coach Jason Kersner, also mentioning the team is off to a great start.