MUSKEGON, MI - With two road victories over the weekend, the Muskegon Lumberjacks have clinched the regular-season Eastern Conference crown for the first time in franchise history.
The Jacks have now won a franchise-best 40 games, and the team's 84 points is the most ever recorded since Muskegon joined the USHL in 2010.
In his first year as the Lumberjacks’ head coach, Mike Hamilton has guided the team to franchise records in wins, points and goals, has led the team to its first-ever first-place finish, and put together the franchise's longest winning streak (eight games).
“It’s something I'm very proud to be a part of,” said Hamilton. “But for me to say it's been all me doesn't tell the story. This is a reward for all those who have paid the price, especially the players, but also the previous coaches, GMs and owners.”
“Because of all their hard work, we've earned something that is good for all of us, and is a step toward what we're trying to build in Muskegon; the top spot for guys to play.”
When asked about the team’s first-year head coach, Lumberjacks President Mike McCall had this to say:
“There have been several coaches in the league this year who have done a great job. I don’t, however, think there is a more deserving person for Coach of the Year honors than Mike Hamilton. For a first-year coach to accomplish what he did this year is quite an achievement.”
Along with the top seed comes home-ice advantage until the Clark Cup Finals, as well as a crucial first-round bye.
After the first round best-of-three series concludes, Muskegon will take on the lowest remaining seed in the Eastern Conference semifinals, which begin April 20 and 21 at LC Walker Arena. The Lumberjacks’ opponent is unknown at this point, with the Eastern Conference playoff race still wildly up for grabs entering the USHL's final regular-season weekend.
The six Eastern Conference playoff teams have been determined, but outside the one seed clinched by the Jacks, no other seed has been sealed.
Muskegon concludes the regular season this Saturday against the Chicago Steel, who are among the three teams in contention for the second seed and a first-round bye.
Saturday night’s game will feature several affiliate players who may be members of the 2019-20 Lumberjacks team. It’s a great opportunity to get a glimpse of next season’s players before this season is over. Game time is 7:15 PM.