As the season draws ever closer to hockey across the world, many players must assess where their season will take them, especially if they’re prospects for NHL teams. One such prospect is Latvian Dans Locmelis, a Bruins selection from this year’s draft, and he has made plans to make a big change for himself, as he revealed to a local newspaper in Sweden that he will be leaving his Swedish club Luleå HF in order to commit to an NCAA team.
The article is paywalled, which is understandable, but our dear friend over in Sweden Patrik Bexell happened to get us the exclusive scoops on Locmelis’ reasonings! Because he is a good man and a fine character.
Locmelis’ reasoning for making this kind of move as it turns out...is pretty reasonable!
It was in August that information came that Dans Locmelis could leave Luleå after this year’s season. Now the 18-year-old Latvian himself is coming out and confirming that he will probably not play in Luleå next year to try his luck in college...Last summer, he was drafted in the fourth round by the Boston Bruins. Previously, it was reported that he would probably play for the college team Northern Michigan University starting in 2023, but according to himself, it is now leaning towards the University of Massachusetts instead.
Locmelis believes that the main reason why he would leave Luleå is the opportunity for playing time. “They have a good team, and I will probably only get to play in the fourth line if I choose to stay here in Luleå. I think it would have been better for me to play in one of the first two lines in a university team,” he tells Norrbottens-Kuriren and continues: “It is a difficult decision. I will definitely miss this place if I decide to move - because I had a great time here - and can imagine coming back here in the future. But I need to play more to get to where I want to be.”
To Locmelis’ point, Luleå was an SHL finalist last year, has cleaned up in their Champions Hockey League group, and looks to go for the win this year. If he does make the team, which would be hard for an 18 year old to do in a normal season, he’d likely be struggling to see meaningful ice-time.
Potentially committing to UMass or NMU is definitely getting you into tough conferences: One is Hockey East, which is always a tough fight; and the CCHA has had a long history of NCAA tournament appearances. Whichever he chooses, he’ll definitely have to work hard, and that’s what we want to see.
Locmelis will play out the remainder of his time with Luleå in the meantime, and we wish him well in his season with them and possibly their J20 team.