OXFORD, Ohio - Although the Miami University hockey team is still in the early stages of the 2012-13 season, the RedHawks are already looking ahead to next year as Miami signed four talented players to National Letters of Intent Wednesday, head coach Enrico Blasi announced.
Miami, known as The Brotherhood, is taking the term to a new level with this year's signing class as two of the four signees are brothers of current or former RedHawks in Matt Joyaux and Johnny Wingels, while Trevor Hamilton and Anthony Louis, both of whom are part of the U.S. National Team Development Program (USNTDP), make up the other half of the class. Three of the four signees are defenseman with Louis the lone forward of the group. Three of the four also hail from the Chicago area while Hamilton is from just outside Detroit.
"We are really excited about this group and what they will add to our program in the years to come. It is a character group that has skill, toughness, and a high competitive spirit," Blasi said. "Off of the ice, these young men live up to the values that the Brotherhood is based upon. We are proud to officially welcome them to the Miami Hockey family and look forward to watching them grow in our culture and contribute to our successes both on and off of the ice."
Hamilton, a native of Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich., is in his second season with the U.S. NTDP, playing on the U-18 team this year while appearing in six games so far and recording an assist. He, along with Louis, helped the U.S. capture the 2012 U-18 Four Nations Tournament title in Ann Arbor, Mich. last week. The six-foot-tall, 185-pound defenseman began his time with the USNTDP last year, playing for the under-17 team, when he totaled 10 points (2g, 8a) in 45 contests. He has appeared in 61 career games for Team USA, totaling 11 points, while playing in 31 USHL games with the USNTDP and compiling eight points. Prior to joining the USNTDP, Hamilton led Honeybaked AAA to the USA Hockey National Championship in 2010-11 and totaled 66 assists and 80 points while helping his team go 74-3-3 in two years on the team. He was also selected to the inaugural CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game in late September along with Louis.
"Trevor is a well-rounded defenseman that has had a very successful minor hockey career," Blasi said. "He has good poise with the puck, a good shot, and has a real knack for the open ice hit. The physical element of his game is very impressive. He has been one of the top defenseman in his age group for quite some time."
Joyaux, who comes to Oxford from Bloomingdale, Ill., is the brother of current freshman defenseman Chris Joyaux. The younger Joyaux is member of the Powell River Kings in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) this year, where he has tallied seven points, including five helpers, in 22 games, while racking up 32 penalty minutes. Last season, Joyaux teamed up with Wingels as a member of the Team Illinois AAA squad. From 2009-11, the 5-foot-9, 174-pound blueliner played two seasons with Chicago Mission AAA teams (U-16 and U-18), appearing in 36 games each season while totaling a combined 10 goals and 28 points with the Mission. He also compile 144 penalty minutes in his two seasons with Chicago.
"Matt is a skilled defenseman that plays with a lot of grit. He can really skate and has a bomb of a shot from the point," Blasi noted. "He shows good poise with the puck, and can play in all situations. Although he would be considered a smaller guy on the back end, he competes at a high level and is an in-your-face kind of player."
Louis, the lone forward of the group, is a native of Winfield, Ill. Like Hamilton, he is a two-year member of the U.S. National Team Development Program and helped the U.S. win the 2012 U-18 Four Nations Tournament title in Ann Arbor, Mich. last week along with Hamilton. In the Four Nations Tournament, he tallied three goals and added two assists for five points. Last year on the U.S. U-17 team, he was the team's leading goal scorer with 27 while compiling 41 points in 49 games. This year he is fourth on the U-18 squad with 11 points in 17 games. From 2009-11, the 5-foot-6 slippery forward suited up for Team Illinois AAA, notching 60 goals and 44 assists for 104 points in 66 combined games over two seasons. Louis has also represented Team USA at the 2012 U-18 World Championship and was selected to the inaugural CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game in late September, like Hamilton.
"Anthony is a highly skilled forward that has always produced a lot of offense at every level he has been at," Blasi said. "When you watch him, he will remind you a lot of Andy Miele. He is small, feisty, dynamic and will bring you to the edge of your seat when he has the puck. He is one of those players that will be a fan favorite."
Rounding out the 2012 signing class is Wingels, the younger brother of former RedHawk captain Tommy Wingels ('11), who is a member of the San Jose Sharks. Hailing from Wilmette, Ill., the younger Wingels is in his first season with the Chicago Steel of the USHL. The 5-foot-10, 181-pound defenseman has handed out four assists in 11 games in the USHL this year. Prior to going to the USHL, Wingels played three years with the Team Illinois AAA program, including last year when he was teammates with Joyaux on the U-18 team and totaled 15 assists and 18 points in 26 contests. From 2009-11, he compiled 19 goals and 37 points in 72 games over two seasons with Team Illinois' U-16 team. He will be the fourth members of the Wingels family to attend Miami, joining Tommy and their two sisters.
"Johnny is as well-rounded of a person and player as we have ever recruited. Off the ice, his academic performance is off the charts. On the ice, Johnny is a solid defender that has an impact at both ends of the ice," Blasi said. "He has a good stick defensively, and is equally capable at stepping up for a big hit or joining the rush offensively. Like his brother, Johnny is a great model of what our program is all about."
All four of the signees will suit up for Miami beginning in the 2013-14 campaign. The 2012-13 RedHawks are back in action this weekend, hosting Michigan State Friday and Saturday at Steve Cady Arena.