When Cam York took the ice at Yost Ice Arena for the first time as a member of the U.S. National Team Development Program’s U18 team, he didn’t know that it would be his future home arena.
York initially committed to Boston College back in 2016, largely because of then-associate head coach Greg Brown. Brown coached the defensemen, which drew York to the Eagles. When Brown left to be an assistant coach for the New York Rangers, York went looking for other options.
“With (Boston College) losing their defensive head coach, that was a big reason why I went there in the first place, so it was disappointing to me,” York said. “I decommitted from there and looked at other options and Michigan was the place for me. I think with their coaching staff and their facilities and what they have to offer, I knew that Michigan was the right choice.”
While he was leaning toward Michigan, York was still uncommitted when the NTDP played at Yost in October.
But it didn’t take too long during that game for the crowd to show him what Michigan hockey is all about.
“I think that was kind of the cherry on top,” York said. “That’s what kind of sold me, for sure. Just the atmosphere of that place and just the way that Michigan fans support their team. It’s a special place.”
And just a few weeks after playing that game, York officially announced his commitment to the Wolverines. He is Michigan’s 12th commitment for the class of 2019 — a class that ranks first in the nation, according to Neutral Zone.
York is eligible for the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, and many expect him to be a first-round pick. He ranks inside the top 20 among eligible prospects by four of the six major scouting websites.
His skill as a two-way defenseman is exemplified by the fact that he has 16 points in 22 games this season, as well as a plus-minus rating of plus-nine.
The NTDP has sent quite a few players to join the college ranks at Michigan in the past few years, including sophomore defenseman Quinn Hughes and sophomore forward Josh Norris. York’s class seems to be no exception, as he and forward John Beecher are set to join the Wolverines next fall.
“We’re super excited,” York said. “Me and (Beecher) have become pretty good friends here. He’s a really good player, so I’m really excited to be able to play with him at the college hockey level.”
In addition to playing with his current teammate, York is also excited to play for a team that has such widespread support. Hailing from Anaheim Hills, Calif. — not exactly a hotbed for hockey — the fervor with which Michigan fans support the Wolverines was one of the first things he noticed when he started thinking about coming to Michigan, even outside Yost Ice Arena.
“You see guys wearing Michigan hoodies, there’s Michigan on license plates and stuff like that,” York said. “The state of Michigan just supports their team so much and I think that’s something that I really noticed and was really drawn to as a kid from somewhere else.”
If York gets drafted as high as he’s expected to this summer, he’ll take the ice for the Wolverines next year with plenty of attention.
Those Michigan fans he’s so drawn to will have their eyes on him — the kid from somewhere else.