Sioux City, Iowa; Manchester, New Hampshire (WQOW) -- Michael Kapla is looking forward to following in the footsteps of other Eau Claire products to play Division I college hockey.
Kapla, who grew up watching players like Jake Dowell (Wisconsin), Derrick LaPoint (North Dakota), Andrew McCabe (Nebraska-Omaha, UW-Eau Claire), Seth Soley (Michigan Tech, St. Norbert), Jefferson Dahl (Wisconsin), & Jake McCabe (Wisconsin), bypassed his senior season at Eau Claire Memorial H.S. to join the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL.
While the Musketeers sit at the bottom of the standings, Kapla's former team at Memorial won a WIAA State Boys Hockey championship last month, but he says he has no regrets.
"It's been an unbelievable opportunity for me this year," says Kapla, "I've improved so much this year as a player and as a person and to be able to take that from here and move on to college in a couple of years, it's going to be awesome."
Kapla recently signed his Division I letter of intent with UMass-Lowell, a program which just qualified for the Frozen Four for the first time in history.
"We've got good assistants, and they're going nationwide to find whatever talent fits our system," says UMass-Lowell head coach Norm Bazin, "and Michael's a good example of that, I think he's going to be an excellent hockey player."
"When they first contacted me I didn't know too much about the school," says Kapla about UML, "and now they're playing in the Frozen Four right now, and they made the playoffs last year so it's cool to see them growing and getting better."
"Michael is someone who moves the puck extremely well," Bazin says, "he's got good size, he's a very heady defenseman, and really we're very excited about having him as part of our organization in the future."
Michael Kapla will play one more season in the USHL before joining the UMass-Lowell program for the 2014-15 season. Kapla has eight goals and fifteen assists this season for the Musketeers.
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