It’s going to be a dream come true.
Luke Morgan, a redshirt sophomore forward on the Michigan hockey team, grew up going to Yost Ice Arena and watching the Wolverines play. A native of Brighton, Michigan — just 25 minutes north of Ann Arbor — Morgan dreamed of playing at Michigan as a kid.
“I grew up coming to the games and being around Ann Arbor, so to be a part of this team is just something really special,” Morgan said.
But Morgan’s story didn’t start out how he may have dreamed.
He was recruited lightly in high school and committed to Lake Superior State largely because he wanted to play Division I hockey, regardless of where he got the opportunity. Prior to joining the Lakers in 2016, he played for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders of the USHL, where he scored 25 points in 60 games.
At Lake Superior State, Morgan appeared in all 36 games and tallied 22 points — 11 assists and 7 goals. But despite his production, it wasn’t the right fit and he soon sought a transfer.
With Michigan coach Mel Pearson beginning his tenure in the summer of 2017, the chance opened up for Morgan to play for the Wolverines.
“It just wasn’t working out where I was at, and things just kinda worked out (for me to come to Michigan),” Morgan said. “It’s been a dream to come here and practice all last year and now to be able to play this year is unreal.”
Morgan spent his required redshirt year gaining strength in the weight room and learning Pearson’s system, without the pressure of having to execute in games. That extra time to learn will likely pay dividends when Michigan’s season starts.
But his true offseason focus wasn’t necessarily hockey related.
“I’ve grown a lot more mature about how to take care of myself,” Morgan said. “I realized how important rest is — and good rest. Making sure I get to sleep on time, eating the right things, recovering. That’s what I think I’ve grown most with — the recovery aspect.”
Taking care of his body will be important this season as he sees his first game action since 2017, and as the Wolverines must replace 33.9 percent of their offensive output from last year.
Morgan will be tasked with helping Michigan’s offense rebound from the departures of Tony Calderone, Dexter Dancs and Cooper Marody. The “DMC” line accounted for 124 of the Wolverines’ 365 points last season, leaving quite a gap for the Wolverines.
It’s a gap Morgan is well-positioned to help fill, especially after a year of impressing Pearson in practice.
“There’s a lot of days we came up after practice and go, ‘Wow, he’s our best player, can’t wait to have him,’ ” Pearson said September 18th. “We expect big things out of Luke, and I know, it’s going to take him some time just to get used to the timing and get back into game shape.
“He can do all you want, the games are important to help you get back into shape, but he’s going to be a big part of our team this year.”
And after a long year of work without being able to play in a game, the time is finally coming for Morgan to take the ice in a Michigan sweater at Yost.
Just like he dreamed as a kid.