By Joshua Boyd / USPHLPremier.com
Production, it’s what Nicklas Millhorn has always been about. After all, no other Cherokee playing at least two seasons has ever bested his points per game average in the team’s USPHL history. He posted 1.51 points over two seasons of 86 games, thanks to his 130 points.
He was also just 10 goals off achieving goal-per-game status for a two-year career, racking up 76 in those 86 regular season games. The ‘02 native of Brownstown, Mich. recently named as a Great Lakes Division All-Star was also equally productive in the postseason, posting nine goals and 15 points in 12 career postseason games.
He’ll be taking that production eastward, joining the NCAA’s Fitchburg State University Falcons this fall.
“I started talking to Fitchburg State after Nationals concluded. I reached out with interest in playing hockey at Fitchburg State I and went on a visit, and a couple days after the visit I received a phone call from Coach Dean Fuller offering me a spot on the team,” said Millhorn.
Talk about an honor – you’re getting an offer from a Head Coach who’s been with Fitchburg State since 1984 and has won over 500 NCAA games.
“The coaches liked the fact that I have a scoring touch and can score big goals. The coaches had said they lost six one-goal games so that scoring to win those close games was a must,” Millhorn said. “On the hockey side, the area that Fitchburg is interested in the most. Being close to Boston makes it a great spot for hockey. From the academic side, they had the sports management program I was looking for. I am going to be studying for a business degree with a sports management concentration.”
He made his first trip to Fitchburg State only recently, in April coming off the Cherokee’s third straight trip to Nationals and Millhorn’s second.
“I absolutely loved the campus. The athletic facilities were a huge part of why I decided to commit to Fitchburg State,” said Millhorn. “Coach [Tom] Patty had sent me videos of the rink and the workout facilities but in person the facilities were that much better and right when I left campus I knew I wanted to go to Fitchburg State.”
He’ll have select company joining him at Fitchburg State out of the USPHL Premier. This includes fellow Nationals staples like Freddy Soderberg of the Metro Jets and the Northern Cyclones’ Hunter Dunn, and they are also joined by New England Division All-Star forward Jacob Trowt of the Springfield Pics.
“The USPHL does a great job of moving kids on to the next level to NCAA hockey and definitely helps prepare players for NCAA hockey,” said Millhorn. “The exposure at all the showcases speaks to how much college attention the league attracts and the tough schedule of showcases and playoffs in Premier is a great preparation tool for NCAA hockey.”
And he can’t think of a better team for his development the last two years than the Toledo Cherokee.
“I owe everything to the Toledo Cherokee Organization. Kenny Miller allowed me to be able to chase my dream of playing college hockey and gave me a chance when I didn’t think hockey was in the picture anymore,” Millhorn said. “They do a great job of getting fans to come out for every home game and do a great job of putting good teams together year after year.”
Millhorn came out of Trenton High School in 2019-20. It was two seasons later, in 2021-22, when Kenny Miller brought him into the fold and worked the junior rookie in all situations to establish his eventual identity as a game-breaker.
“The Cherokee do a great job of developing players to be able to play at the next level. Coach Kennny played me on all four forward lines throughout my first year and that helped me improve my game so much being able to play on any line and change my game to fit whatever the team needed from game to game,” Millhorn added.
“Coach Kenny worked with me this year on rounding out the defensive side of my game,” he added. “He noticed that I was getting too offensive during games and without his help, I don’t think I would’ve realized it, and would not have been ready for college hockey.”
The Cherokee have not finished lower than seventh place overall in the USPHL Premier in the last three years and have made good on their regular season promise by now becoming regulars at the USPHL National Championships.
“I think making [three] trips to Nationals makes Toledo a place of interest for new USPHL players and helps continue to make Toledo a top organization each year now,” said Millhorn. “Nationals was a great experience and being able to win the Great Lakes Division for the first time since 2011 is a huge thing in attracting new kids to come to Toledo and see how special of a place it is.”
He can’t wait to see how special of a place Fitchburg State is, and he’s hoping he can show the Falcons and their fans just how much he appreciates being given the opportunity to extend his career.
“I am going to work hard on increasing my foot speed to become quicker on the ice,” said Millhorn. “At the next level, everything happens that much faster, and I need to improve on my foot speed to continue to be effective and be an impact player in the lineup.”
The USPHL congratulates Nicklas Millhorn, his family, the Toledo Cherokee and Fitchburg State University for his commitment.