Big Rapids, Mich. – The Ferris State men's ice hockey program will pay tribute to its eight senior student-athletes this Saturday (Feb. 25) in a special ceremony prior to the Bulldogs' regular-season home finale contest against the Western Michigan Broncos in Big Rapids.
A 7:05 p.m. (EDT) opening faceoff is scheduled for the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) home contest at the Ewigeblen Ice Arena.
Bulldog senior forwards Derek Graham (Schoolcraft), Tommy Hill (Portage), Jordie Johnston (Rosetown, Saskatchewan), Michael Trebish (Yorkton, Saskatchewan) and Aaron Schmit (Grafton, Wis.), defensemen Chad Billins (Marysville) and Brett Wysopal (LeGrange Park, Ill.) along with goaltender Taylor Nelson (Regina, Sasakatchean) will be recognized in the annual pregame ceremony.
The senior class has led the nation's top-ranked Bulldogs to a current 22-8-4 overall and 16-6-4 record in the conference. This senior class will own at least a share of the CCHA regular-season title and can claim the crown in outright fashion by gaining a point over second place Michigan in the final week of regular-season play this weekend.
Ferris State and Western Michigan open their home-and-home series on Friday (Feb. 24) night at Lawson Ice Arena in Kalamazoo.
Since their freshman season, the senior class has compiled a 73-56-22 record.
Chad Billins: A 2011-12 Hobey Baker Award candidate, as well as a Lowe's Senior CLASS Award Finalist, this senior has shown his worth on and off the ice. He's totaled 17 career goals and 49 assists for 66 points in 140 games played. Also, he's blocked 163 shots in his four-year career while scoring nine power-play goals and five game winners. His 140 career games played is tied for 14th all-time among Bulldog defensemen. Honored as the squad's 2011 King Of The Camp for his top performance during preseason conditioning, he was recognized as the 2010-11 FSU representative for the CCHA Scholar-Athlete award and received votes for all-conference recognition. A three time FSU Dean's Academic Award recipient, he's also a two-time CCHA Defenseman of the Week honoree and claimed CCHA Rookie of the Week honors in his initial campaign. (Marysville, Mich.)
Aaron Schmit: This senior is regarded as a solid two-way player who began his career as a defenseman before being transitioned to forward. He's embraced his role as a power forward who uses his strength to play a large role in the offensive production, while scoring goals at critical moments. He has recorded eight goals and posted six assists thus far this season. Additionally, he's tallied 20 career points on 14 goals and six assists while blocking 32 shots in his four-year stint, including a season high 12 blocked shots in his freshman campaign. A four-year Dean's list honoree, he was the 2010-11 Steve Banois Memorial Most Improved Player Award recipient as well as the team's scholar-athlete award winner. That same season he also earned the FSU President's Academic Award for the highest cumulative GPA. (Grafton, Wis.)
Jordie Johnston: This standout forward has matured and developed into the team's leading point producer this season with 16 goals and 15 assists for 31 total points. He's also tallied a squad-leading six power play goals and four game-winning markers. His persistence and dedication have made him a front line player on the team and within the conference. Also, his flexibility has also allowed him to be moved from center to wing and he's registered 52 career points in 127 games. A two-team Dean's Academic Award winner, he also earned CCHA player of the Week accolades after a four-point weekend with two goals and two assists against Bowling Green State earlier this year. (Rosetown, Saskatchewan)
Derek Graham: A terrific two-way player for the Bulldogs as both a forward and defenseman in his collegiate career, this veteran player has totaled 16 points on four goals and 12 assists while helping the Bulldogs to a CCHA crown this season. Currently, he's recorded 45 career points on the strength of 10 goals and 35 assists in 129 career contests. A versatile skater who has played all five positions in his four-year career, he's a two-time Dean's Academic Award recipient and earned CCHA Player of the Week honors this season after his two multi-point game performances versus Alaska earlier this campaign. (Schoolcraft, Mich.)
Michael Trebish: This senior is noted as a solid and steady player by the Bulldog coaching staff. In his career, he's netted three assists and blocked 51 opposing team shots. He totaled a career high 21 blocked shots as a sophomore and has been a physical defenseman who relentlessly protects his teammates for four seasons. His teammates regard him as a hard worker whose presence is felt on the ice. Twice he's been honored as a FSU Dean's Academic Award winner and was chosen as the team's 2009-10 Scholar-Athlete for having the squad's highest cumulative grade point average. That same season he was awarded the FSU President's Award for his academic success. (Yorkton, Saskatchewan)
Brett Wysopal: This senior is regarded by his teammates as a smart and vocal player who is a warrior on the ice. Also appreciated by his coaches and the fans for his relentless efforts, he's a frontline penalty killer who has totaled seven goals and 35 assists for 42 points in 112 games played in his three seasons. A former transfer, he has blocked a career total of 168 shots with a personal career-high 57 this campaign. This season, he has also generated multi-point games on two occasions. He earned CCHA Defenseman of the Week honors for the second time in his career earlier this season following a road sweep over Bowling Green State in which he generated two goals, blocked two shots and finished plus-five in the weekend sweep. (LaGrange Park, Ill.)
Taylor Nelson: A 2011-12 candidate for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as the nation's top collegiate player, he ranks as one of the top goaltenders in Ferris State history. In 2008-09, he was a CCHA All-Rookie Honorable mention selection and claimed FSU Rookie of the year honors along with the CCHA Rookie Of the Week award. A two time FSU Dean's Academic Award winner, his 31 career victories in net rank sixth among the Bulldogs' all-time goaltenders. Additionally, his 2.36 career goals against average is currently third in the program's history while his .623 career win percentage is second in the Bulldog annals. This season, his 17 victories are tied for third-best in a single-campaign while his 2.08 goals against average is second among the program's seasonal leaders and his .925 save percentage is tied for first on the single-season list. His outstanding 78.3 winning percentage in net this season is tops all-time for a season. He's noted as a hard worker who's a positive and vocal presence in the locker room. (Regina, Saskatchewan)
Tommy Hill: This 2011-12 Bulldog co-captain has been awarded numerous honors in his four years for his contributions on and off the ice. He was the 2009-10 co-winner of the Steve Banonis Memorial Most Improved Player Award and later rewarded as the 2010-11 FSU Blue Line Competitive Award recipient as voted by his teammates for being the team's top competitor. A two-time FSU Dean's Academic Award honoree, he has totaled 30 blocked shots in his career as a defender who's made the switch to forward. Chosen as the squad's 2010 King of The Camp for his preseason conditioning efforts, he's referred to by the coaching staff as the ultimate over-achiever whose efforts transcend the ice into the community and the classroom. (Portage, Mich.)