EAST LANSING — Late summer isn’t usually a particularly busy time for college hockey programs.
But when you have a new head coach who continues to fill out a roster and work to add to his roster, there’s always work to be done.
New Michigan State coach Adam Nightingale had a busy start to August, with a new staff member and a new player for next season, as well as commitments from two future recruits.
Nightingale and his team took some time out Wednesday night, where Nightingale threw out the first pitch at Comerica Park ahead of the Detroit Tigers’ game against Cleveland on “Michigan State Night.” But other than that, staff have been split between traveling for recruitment visits and working with current players.
New coach, new player on board
Will Morlock, who was previously strength and conditioning manager for the U-18 and U-17 national teams of the U.S. National Team Development Program, has been added to MSU’s strength and conditioning staff to work primarily with the hockey team.
Morlock is a former football goaltender at Hope College and hails from Grand Haven. He will work closely with the athletic training and hockey analysis departments to develop players with individualized training.
“Our practices have been really person-focused since I got here,” first-year forward Daniel Russell said. “Everyone has their own personal needs, but a lot of the staff have the same workouts for everyone. Here, there’s a lot of personal workouts for every guy and what he needs.”
MSU also filled its 26th and final spot on the roster for next season as forward Ryan Nolan transferred from Merrimack College.
Nolan had been on campus and with the team, but was officially announced once approved for admission to MSU as a graduate transfer,
“Ryan Nolan is a hard-working, physical forward who is effective on the forecheck, holding pucks low and creating a presence in front of the net,” Nightingale said in a press release. “As a veteran of the college game, we see him as a player who will help set the tone in games, practices, the weight room, in the community and in the classroom. We are thrilled to welcome him to East Lansing. .”
Nolan, a 6-foot-1, 206-pound forward, played 15 games last season for the Warriors, scoring one goal and collecting two assists.
Two NTDP prospects sign up for MSU
Hockey recruiting is unique in that prospects are ranked based on their year of birth, rather than the typical year the recruit would enter college. For reference, players born in 2006 would fit under the 2024-25 class.
Nightingale, who came to MSU after coaching the U-18 team of the U.S. National Team Development Program, used that experience to help land commitments from two top-40 ranked forwards who will play for the United States. U-17 NTDP team this coming season.
Austin Baker and Lucas Van Vliet, both Michigan forwards who played together on the Little Caesars 150 midget team, both signed with the Spartans on August 1.
Baker had two goals and nine assists in 12 games, while Van Vliet had seven goals and two assists in 12 games for Little Caesars. Both are Ontario Hockey League draft picks for junior hockey, with Baker selected in the eighth round by Owen Sound Attack and Van Vliet in the 15th round by the Sarnia Sting.
Contact Nathaniel Bott at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Nathaniel_Bott