Waywayseecappo Wolverines captain Nick Doyle has made a decision on furthering his hockey career. On Monday morning it was announced that the Winnipeg product would be taking his talents to Minot, North Dakota, where he will spend the next number of years within the ACHA playing Division 1 hockey as a Beaver.
“We are thrilled to add Nick to our program,” said Minot State head coach Wade Regier in a team-issued press release. “We have been looking at Nick for many months knowing he is exactly the type of player we wanted to bring in. He has been an elite defenseman in the MJHL over the past two seasons.”
Regier is right. Not only has Doyle been a stellar shut-down defender for Wayway over his four-year MJHL career, he has blossomed into one of the league’s very best offensive defencemen.
Following two seasons in Portage with the Terriers, Doyle moved to the Wolverines, where he instantly found himself in a larger role. His goal, assist, point and penalty minute totals all saw significant increases. The 6-foot-1 blueliner put up eight more points and 50 more penalty minutes in his first season with Wayway in 2018-19.
This past year, the 20-year-old upped his game further, collecting 12 goals and 46 points, to go along with 45 penalty minutes in 59 games played on the back-end for the Wolverines. The former Winnipeg Sharks Bantam AAA player finished fourth amongst defencemen in scoring league-wide, while making the MJHL All-Star list as a Second Team selection.
“Adding his offense to our back end will bring an exciting brand of hockey to the Magic City, Regier added. “He is a player we are expecting to make an immediate impact when he steps on the ice. His biggest asset is his leadership. Being a captain of an MJHL team commands the respect of his team and the league. We expect him to bring this leadership into our locker room and into our community. We know Nick had multiple options and excited he wanted to join our winning culture.”
Last week, Doyle was still in negotiations with a number of different programs, but clearly made a decision over the weekend.
“I’ve narrowed it down to three or four schools in the U.S. and Canada — Div. 3 and U-SPORTS,” Doyle told Game On last weekend. “I’ve talked to quite a few but I’m getting close to making a decision. I’d love to tell you which ones but my advisor told me to keep it all on the down-low. Still, this is a good time to have to make my decision. I really don’t have anything else to think about now that we’re all locked down due to the pandemic.”
The grizzled MJHL veteran enjoyed his time with both the Terrier and Wolverine organizations, playing under Blake Spiller and Taylor Harnett, but still has a bitter taste in the back of his mouth on the way his junior career came to a close.
“It’s too bad the season ended the way it did this year because I thought we had a strong group,” said Doyle, whose Wolverines were down 2-1 to the Swan Valley Stampeders in the first round of this year’s MJHL playoffs. “Still, being part of the rebuilding of the team in Wayway is something I’ll always be proud of. When I got traded there by Portage, we had six wins and now, we’re a fifth place team with two-straight years in the playoffs.”
Doyle will now have the opportunity to join a really good ACHA team, and become the sixth former Wolverine on the Beavers’ active playing roster for the 2020-21 season. The defending national champion Minot State had its season cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, going 30-5-2 before seeing the 2019-20 season cancelled. Minot’s win percentage was sixth-best in the country, while its record and goals-for was tops in its division.