Former Michigan goaltender Strauss Mann has signed a professional contract, although he won’t be playing in North America.
On Tuesday it was announced that Mann had signed with Skellefteå AIK of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL).
“After Söderblom’s exit, we have (been searching) for a worthy replacement and now we have found one,” the release (translated from Swedish) said. “He is 22 years old, American and comes most recently from the University of Michigan in the prestigious college series. A warm welcome, Strauss Mann!”
Mann chose to forgo his senior year at Michigan and seek playing professionally as an undrafted free agent. In his 3 years with the Wolverines he cemented himself as an all-time Michigan goaltender, with a career 2.14 goals against average and .926 save percentage. Mann won the Big Ten Goaltender of the Year award following his sophomore season and was a finalist for the award again this past season.
He will now begin his professional career in Sweden, while continuing his pursuit of playing in the NHL. Based on the release it appears Mann will be given a chance to start right away, which likely factored into the decision. The SHL is considered to be one of the top non-NHL hockey leagues in the world.
Mann stands at just six feet tall and is considered undersized for a goaltender. However, his smaller stature didn’t prevent him from flourishing at Michigan and he’ll hope to keep building on that success as he heads overseas.