Dec. 18, 2002
Notre Dame, Ind. – By Tim Connor
The game of hockey can definitely take you places. Just ask Michael Chin.
The Notre Dame senior right wing has traveled all over the country not just to play hockey games, but to play for teams that would help develop his hockey skills.
A native of Urbana, Illinois, Chin left home when he was just 11 years old in search of better hockey competition.
The game has taken him all over the United States and even to Europe.
As a high school student, he attended four different high schools on his way up the hockey ladder. There was a year at Viator High School in Arlington Heights, Ill., while playing junior hockey in Chicago. Then came a year at hockey high school powerhouse Shattuck St. Mary’s in Faribault, Minn.
As a junior, Chin moved to Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, Mich., while playing for the U.S. Under-18 team. As a senior, he returned home to graduate from Urbana High School before moving on to the junior hockey level.
“There is no question that hockey has taken me everywhere,” says Chin.
“I went to Europe as a freshman in high school. I’ve been all over the United States playing hockey. It’s been fun and I’ve enjoyed the experience.”
While experiencing what various parts of the country have to offer, the talented right wing also got the chance to develop into a pretty good hockey player. He became a highly sought junior player following his season with the Des Moines Buccaneers of the United States Hockey League (USHL).
At Des Moines in 1998-99, Chin came into his own as a talented power forward – a player who combined size, speed and an excellent scoring touch. He helped the Buccaneers to a 48-17-1 record and was among the league leaders in scoring with 26 goals and 28 assists for 54 points including six power-play goals and three game winners. He was named the Most Valuable Player of the 1999 USHL all-star game.
“I could have played two years with Des Moines, but I had a chance to play with the U.S. Developmental Program so I went there,” says Chin.
“I was injured part of that year with the Under-18 team and decided to go to the USHL the following year. I called Scott Owens and he was willing to take me in Des Moines. I got lots of ice time and had the chance to play in all situations which really helped my game.”
A political science major with a minor in Chinese and Asian studies at Notre Dame, Chin was part of a recruiting class that included Connor Dunlop, Evan Nielsen, John Wroblewski, Jake Wiegand and Tony Zasowski.
His freshman year saw the rookie forward score six goals and add seven assists for 13 points as the Irish advanced to the CCHA playoffs and their first trip to Joe Louis Arena since rejoining the CCHA.
“The two trips to the Joe (Joe Louis Arena) have been the highlights of my career so far, but the first one really sticks out for me,” says Chin.
“We won the first round series and then had to wait to see if we were in the play-in game or had made it. That’s when Chipper (Chad Chipchase) came in the locker room and told us we were going to the Joe.”
After a disappointing sophomore (one goal and two assists in 35 games), Chin found his game last season with 13 goals and eight assists for 21 points for career-highs in all three categories.
Most of his scoring numbers came while playing on a line with David Inman and Connor Dunlop. That line featured size, speed and plenty of talent.
“I really loved playing with those two guys,” says Chin.
“Connor is one of the best players that I’ve ever played with. He sees things happening and knows where people are on the ice. He has that ability to get the puck to where you are on the ice. Not many people can do that.”
“Dave was really, really good. He could shoot; he could find the open man. We had a fast line with good size and we complimented each other well. That line worked well together.”
After advancing to the CCHA Super Six for the second time in three years, Chin and his teammates look to return again this coming March.
Michael Chin has scored three goals and added four assists for the Irish in 14 games this season. He will be counted on to have a big second half of the season.
So far this year, the Irish are 8-6-2 overall and 6-6-0 in league play as they’ve put together a three-game winning streak heading into the Christmas holidays.
The Irish swept Bowling Green at home (Dec. 7-8) and won a non-conference tilt at Wayne State on Dec. 14. Chin played a key role in the 5-2 win over the Falcons on Dec. 8 when he picked up the winning goal in the second period. His shot from behind the goal line caromed off goaltender Tyler Masters stick and into the net for his third lamplighter of the year.
“I’ll take the goal any way that it goes in. It was just good to get a goal at a key time and help the team get the win,” said Chin following the game.
Irish head coach Dave Poulin was quick to point out that his team needs Chin’s goal scoring talents no matter how they come.
“Those are the kind of goals that Michael Chin scores. Rebounds, off scrambles in front. We need that from him,” says Poulin
The three-game winning streak sends Chin and his teammates into the break for finals and the Christmas holidays on a positive note. They return to action on Dec. 28-29 at the Ledyard National Bank Tournament at Hanover, N.H. with the focus on putting things together for a strong second half of the season
“We have a great group of guys here. You could call us a work in progress as we try to put all the pieces together. We are trying to create a team here, because teams are what win,” says Chin who has three goals and four assists in 14 games this season.
“Individuals make plays, but in the end, teams are what win. It’s a team effort and we have the talent and potential to go as far as we want to go. We can talk about that all we want, but we have to continue to work hard and become more consistent every time we go out there.”
While Chin’s collegiate hockey career is in it’s final season, the easy-going forward isn’t finished traveling yet as he hopes hockey can take him further.
“Hopefully I can take my game to the next level. Where that is, I don’t really know. Right now I’m concentrating on this year and helping our team win,” says Chin.
“I know I have to pick up my game, score some points and play good defensive hockey. I would love to go and play in Europe. I’m taking it seriously and would like to go somewhere where I’ll get the chance to make it all the way to the top. I’ll start worrying about that after this season is over.”
And if hockey doesn’t take him where he wants to go, Notre Dame’s traveling man still plans on seeing more of the world.
“I may go to law school, maybe study international law. I may work in China,” says Chin.
“I love to travel. I really want to see China and Asia. Maybe even work there someday. I want to go on a safari in Africa and I want to go to Australia. I really want to see the rest of the world.”