ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – The wait is finally over.
Elmira’s standout hockey player, Johnny Beecher, will hit the ice for the first time this season in game competition Friday & Saturday for the University of Michigan. The Wolverines will host rival Michigan State Friday and then turn around and travel to the Spartans in Lansing Saturday.
Beecher, a first round NHL Draft pick by the Boston Bruins, is now a junior forward for the Wolverines (6-2) who are ranked third in the latest national college rankings by USCHO.com. Friday marks the return after a long process for Beecher. After suffering season-ending shoulder surgery last season, Beecher missed the first eight games this year due to an undisclosed injury.
In mid-October, Beecher spoke with 18 Sports on how his progress is going for the opportunity to play again.
“I’m feeling good, just got cleared, starting skating a little bit,” Beecher told 18 Sports via Zoom in October. “I’m just trying to get out a couple of a days a week and just get my legs moving again,” added Beecher.
Johnny is primed to get back as soon as possible and play at the highest level. But, he knows patience is key.
“(I) can’t do anything with puck yet, just pretty much up and down the ice…It feels good to get out there and try and get ready.”
Beecher, a member of the United States World Junior Team, was a member of the Big Ten Conference All-Freshman team in 2020 after playing in 31 games and had 16 points (9 goals and 7 assists). Johnny racked up four goals and securing four assists in just 16 games before season-ending surgery last year.
Come Friday, the Elmira native will once again play the sport that’s given so much to him. A sport that he has so much more to give to it.