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Longtime Jr. Gull, current Jr. Duck Groll commits to Michigan

 

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A weekend in Pittsburgh at the end of September helped determine Josh Groll’s future course.

The performances by the Anaheim Jr. Ducks center and his 16U AAA team at the United States Hockey League (USHL) Fall Classic drew a lot of attention from college coaches, including the University of Michigan, which Groll ultimately committed to in late October.

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The Jr. Ducks won games against the Minnesota Blades, Detroit Belle Tire and Detroit Honeybaked before falling deep into a shootout to the Chicago Mission in the semifinals.

“Michigan was one of the schools that communicated with my family advisor after that,” said Groll, a longtime San Diego Jr. Gull. “They arranged a campus visit. I liked the tradition of the school and the hockey program. Their legacy showed what it was worth to go there.”

groll_sdDuring his visit, he spoke with fellow San Diegan Jake Slaker, who is an assistant captain for the Wolverines as a sophomore.

“He gave me great insight into his experiences there,” Groll said.

Groll, who along with Jr. Ducks teammate Ryan Johnson helped Team USA win the U17 Five Nations Tournament in the Czech Republic in August, is on quite a run this year. He’s elevated his game to that of a difference maker for a couple of reasons.

“Josh’s work ethic and compete level are very high,” said Alex Kim, Jr. Ducks 16U co-coach and the club’s director of player personnel. “He’s also very mature. He takes academics very seriously. Whether he’s in the gym or on the ice, he’s always trying to better himself.

“He’s always around the puck, and he can create offense because of his speed and strength.”

Through end of October, Groll was tied for the scoring lead in the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League with 23 points through 12 games. He was second in goals (11) and assists (12).

Groll’s next step after this season likely is to play junior in the USHL for the Omaha Lancers, which holds his rights, before enrolling at Michigan in the fall of 2020.

— Chris Bayee

(Nov. 29, 2017)