Photo credit: Lisa Mazurek
Vernon Vipers forward Connor Marritt grew up in Kelowna, B.C. and has played his entire hockey career in the Okanagan area. Having just completed his second BCHL season with the Vipers, he now knows that in a year’s time he will be moving out of the province and out of the country as he has announced his commitment to the Northern Michigan University Wildcats for the 2020-21 season.
The 20-year-old forward had his best offensive season in the league last year, contributing 13 goals and 27 assists for 40 points in 54 regular-season games. Marritt was also a part of Vernon’s run to the Fred Page Cup finals where he had eight points in 21 postseason games. He will remain in Vernon for the 2019-20 season before joining the Wildcats the following year.
“I’m very excited to commit to this school,” said Marritt in a release from the Vipers. “They have an excellent coaching staff and great facilities.
“I can’t wait to get started and become a member of the Wildcat family.”
The Northern Michigan campus is located in Marquette, Mich., on the south side of Lake Superior near the Canadian border. The Wildcats play in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA), competing against Alabama-Huntsville, Alaska-Anchorage, Alaska-Fairbanks, Bemidji State, Bowling Green, Ferris State, Lake Superior State, Michigan Tech and Minnesota State. Northern Michigan is coming off a successful season where they finished second in the conference standings with a record of 18-8-2, eventually losing to Bowling Green in the WCHA semifinals.
Graduates from Northern Michigan that went on to play in the NHL include Dallas Drake, who played over 1,000 games for several different teams and won a Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings in his final season, as well as Steve Bozek and Mike Santorelli. who both spent time with the Vancouver Canucks.
The 2018-19 Wildcats roster featured several BCHL alums, including Rylan Yaremko (West Kelowna Warriors), Tony Bretzman (Langley Rivermen), Adam Rockwood (Coquitlam Express), Luke Voltin (Penticton Vees) and Darien Craighead (Surrey Eagles).
Marritt is the sixth BCHL player with a commitment to Northern Michigan, joining Alberni Valley Bulldogs goaltender John Hawthorne, Merritt Centennials defenceman Michael Van Unen, Andre Ghantous and James Miller from the Penticton Vees and Wenatchee Wild forward Josh Arnold who are all committed for next season.