At the end of September, Michigan Tech picked up its third commitment from a defenseman in less than thirty days. Dane Birks, from Williams Lake, British Columbia, has committed to the Michigan Tech Huskies for 2014. Birks is 6'1" and is currently a rookie for the Merritt Centennials in the BCHL. The 17-year-old blueliner spent time this offseason in tryout camp with the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL, but ultimately joined the Centennials to keep his college eligibility intact. In his first 11 games for Merritt, Birks has 11 points, including 2 goals. If he keeps up this pace as a rookie, he could find himself drafted by an NHL team next summer.
"Dane has stepped into our program this season and made an impact immediately," said Merritt GM and Head Coach Luke Pierce. "He is a player with a tremendous passion for the game and will continue to evolve into a premier defenseman in the BC Hockey League."
"Michigan Tech is an incredible school both athletically and academically, and we expect Dane to contribute there when his time comes," Pierce continued. "We relish the opportunity to work with Dane over the next two years as we prepare him for his next step while enjoying the benefits of his play here in Merritt."
Before joining Merritt, Birks played 47 games for the Creston Valley Thunder Cats (KIJHL), scoring 27 points as a 16-year-old. He also played 10 games as an affiliate player for Trail (BCHL) at the end of last season. Birks is Michigan Tech's fifth committed defenseman. Currently, Marcus Ericsson, Chris Leibinger and Joe Schuldt are set to join the team in 2013 after the departures of Steven Siego, Carl Nielsen and Tommy Brown. It is also possible that Joe Schuldt could be pushed back to join the Huskies with Birks in 2014, while Tristan Rostagno is penciled in for 2015. It's great to see Michigan Tech have such a long list of highly touted recruits committed already. There are high hopes for all the committed defenders to help the Huskies continue their transition to contender in the Mel Pearson era.