Maine forward/defenseman Michael Schutte has signed a professional contract with the Phoenix Coyotes of the National Hockey League, foregoing his final year of collegiate eligibility.
“My three years at UMaine were special and I learned a great deal. I will miss every second of it,” said Schutte, a native of Burlington, Ont.. “My family and I feel we made the right decision to move forward to accomplish my dreams.”
In 39 games for the Black Bears in 2001-02, Schutte scored 13 goals and 18 assists for 31 points. He scored two goals in the national championship game against Minnesota, and was named to the all-tournament team on defense, though he may end up best remembered for being called for a controversial penalty call in overtime which led to Minnesota’s title-winning goal.
One of Schutte’s opponents in the championship game could soon be a teammate; Phoenix recently signed Minnesota junior forward Jeff Taffe to a pro contract.
Schutte played in 100 games at Maine in his career with 30 goals and 35 assists for 65 points while playing both defense and forward.
“We are very proud of Michael Schutte. He has worked extremely hard to develop his game over the past three years and he clearly emerged this season as a clutch performer for our team,” said Maine coach Tim Whitehead. “Michael’s poise on the power play and his physical presence on defense will be very difficult to replace. We are excited that he has earned this opportunity with a class organization like the Phoenix Coyotes.”