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‘We want to win championships’: How Jared DeMichiel's recruiting prowess is paying off for MSU hockey

October 19, 2022
<p>Michigan State Men&#x27;s Hockey Assistant Coach Jared DeMichiel during a practice on Oct. 18, 2022.</p>

Michigan State Men's Hockey Assistant Coach Jared DeMichiel during a practice on Oct. 18, 2022.

When Head Coach Adam Nightingale was hired earlier this year, the first addition to his staff was Associate Head Coach Jared DeMichiel.

When Nightingale first reached out, DeMichiel was not the most informed about him or MSU, but as he researched more and more he realized that East Lansing was the place to be. 

“What Adam wants to do here, I think it's going to be very, very special and I think it's something that kind of the more I researched, it was more something I want to be a part of,” DeMichiel said. 

DeMichiel played college hockey as a goaltender at the Rochester Institute of Technology, or RIT. 

During his playing days, he learned what he liked to see out of coaches and he uses that knowledge to his advantage nowadays.

“I learned that I liked coaches that wanted to push me and hold me accountable, but also too wanted to just to have an open, honest relationship and I was very lucky in my college experience at RIT that I had coaches where when I did things out of line, they told me that, ‘hey, you're getting out of line,' but at the same time, too, it was great where they can smile and laugh," DeMichiel said. "They got to know my family and I try to operate the same exact way.”

From there he went on to be an assistant coach at Nazareth college and St. Lawrence University. After those stints he joined the University of Massachusetts staff where he saw lots of success. 

During his time as associate head coach at UMass, DeMichiel won a national championship in 2021 and was a national runner-up in 2019. 

DeMichiel is known for his recruiting prowess and when he was still with UMass he was key in the retention of now one of the top defensmen in the NHL, Cale Makar

Makar committed before DeMichiel joined the staff and as he was being sought out by other schools when DeMichiel joined, all he could do was hope that his honesty could keep Makar in Massachusetts. 

“I think we just built a really open, honest relationship with Cale and let him know on how we thought his game could improve and how we could do things and I think at the end of the day, as cheesy as it might sound, honesty's the best policy, and I think he really liked that and appreciated that,” DeMichiel said. 

Despite Makar's top-tier profile, he decided to stay one more season with UMass rather than signing with the Colorado Avalanche, who selected him fourth overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. As a sophomore, Makar was the winner of the Hobey Baker Award and was the Hockey East Player of the Year, bringing the Minutemen all the way to the Frozen Four final.

Since DeMichiel joined MSU, recruiting has been on a tear and a lot of the credit ties back to him. A survey recently completed The Athletic named DeMichiel as a top-three recruiter in college hockey.

The Spartans have garnered commitments from players such as Christian Humphreys, the ninth ranked recruit in the 2006 age group according to hockey scouting website Neutral Zone. 

DeMichiel noted many things, including the renovations to Munn Ice Arena, have helped this aspect of their program get off to such a hot start.

“It starts with Adam, the head coach," DeMichiel said. "He's done a very good job in the recruiting process and also Assistant Coach Mike Towns and I. He allows us to do what we want to do, but he's been communicating with us, he's been communicating with the recruits when they're on campus, he's done a really good job with that.

“Obviously, the renovations here to Munn really helped today's modern player from the recruiting standpoint, but also from the player development standpoint. We have arguably the best new facility in college hockey, but I feel like our staff is very well rounded. And then also the history here and the tradition of Michigan State hockey. It's one of the most prominent names in all of college hockey. You walk into the Ron Mason Hall of History there and you can just see it, you can just feel it.”

Towns, who was hired from Clarskon, has only been working with DeMichiel for a short period of time, but he has enjoyed it so far. 

“He brings energy every day to our office and to the rink," Towns said.  Super hard worker, really, really, really good recruiter. So it's been really fun to work with him.”

Junior defenseman Nash Nienhuis shared Towns’ enthusiasm when discussing what it is like to play under DeMichiel. 

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“He just brings a ton of energy and he's a really good player development guy and he's like, super relatable as a player," Nienhuis said. "You can just talk to him and he's a very knowledgeable guy, like all our staff is and I think his energy and just the way he carries himself is really encouraging and gets the best out of everybody.”

While DeMichiel, along with the rest of the staff, have only been here for a couple of months, they know what their goals are and what it takes to reach them. 

“Obviously putting up some championship banners would be pretty cool and hopefully when I'm 70 or 80 years old I can come back to Munn and see some teams that I was fortunate to be a part of,” DeMichiel said. “Our whole entire staff wouldn't have come here to be mediocre, we want to be special, we want to be elite, but we know it's not easy. We definitely want to just make incremental gains every single year and if you do things the right way day in and day out, the winds will take care of themselves.”

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