Mike Szmatula, who was the third leading scorer for the Northeastern Huskies this past season, has left the hockey program and will reportedly transfer.
"Mike was a solid contributor to the program, and we wish him the best of luck in his hockey career and beyond," said Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan.
A native of Commerce, Mich., Szmatula had 28 goals and 40 assists in two seasons at Northeastern. This isn't the first time there has been controversy or the possibility of Szmatula leaving the Northeastern program. Originally a Sacred Heart commit, Szmatula de-committed from the Pioneers to verbal to NU.
However, after a stellar final season of junior hockey with the Dubuque Fighting Saints in the USHL, he tried to get out of his commitment to Northeastern. Szmatula wanted to follow his junior coach Jim Montgomery to Denver University, but Madigan wouldn't let him out of his National Letter of Intent.
There has been Twitter speculation on Szmatula's next move, but there is nothing concrete. Heading to Denver wouldn't be a surprise. Mike McMahon, among others, has suggested he might follow a former Dubuque assistant to Arizona State. Mike Field just signed on to be the Sun Devils' assistant coach as that program begins its modern voyage into NCAA hockey.
It will be tough for Northeastern to replace Szmatula's vision and offensive creativity this late in the recruiting season, but the defense and goaltending question marks are far more pressing for the NU staff.
"Moving forward, we're excited for the core that we have returning in 2015-16 as well as the incoming student-athletes joining our program in the fall. The coaching staff and I are very eager for the upcoming season and we are confident that the leadership in our locker room will help set the tone for a successful year," said Madigan.