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Keaton Peters Named USHL Student-Athlete of the Year

06/08/2022, 9:45am CDT
By USHL, Multiple Teams

Four Teams Make Up 2021-22 All-Academic Team

Keaton Peters - Student-Athlete of the Year

The United States Hockey League (USHL) and the Lincoln Stars have announced that Keaton Peters has been named the USHL Student-Athlete of the Year. Subsequently, Peters has been named to the USHL All-Academic Team.

Peters, 18, enrolled in an online platform provided by Hamilton School District in Sussex, Wisconsin, recording a perfect 4.0 GPA. Since 2018-19, Keaton has received A’s in all of his classes, including Advanced Placement courses.  

"It feels awesome to think that all my hard work away from the hockey aspect of juniors is being recognized," Peters said. "I am honored and excited to represent Lincoln in this regard."

In his first season in the USHL, Peter scored four goals and added seven assists while rounding out his defensive game. Away from his ice, Peters volunteered in various activities throughout the 2021-22 season, serving the Lincoln community while inspiring his teammates to do the same. 

“Keaton’s priorities in regards to his on-ice game and off-ice academics are second-to-none,” said Stars Head Coach Rocky Russo. “He was diligent with his schoolwork all year and he was still one of our hardest workers in the gym and on the ice in the afternoons. He took pride in all of the aspects of what it meant to be a Lincoln Star as a student-athlete and was successful all the way around.”

The Sussex, Wisc. native is set to attend Northern Michigan University after his USHL career concludes.

"Hockey practices and games take a toll on your body and most of the time you want to just sleep and relax when you get home, but this will happen in college too," Peters said. "If you can do it in juniors, I think it gives you practice for when you have to do it in college.”

2021-22 All-Academic Team

Forward - Keaton Peters (Lincoln Stars)

Forward - Maddox Fleming (Sioux Falls Stampede)

The Sioux Falls Stampede are proud to announce that forward Maddox Fleming has been selected as one of six players named to the USHL All-Academic Team for the 2021-22 season.  

Fleming completed his senior year this spring at Michigan International Prep School, attending classes remotely while he maintained a rigorous hockey schedule here in Sioux Falls that included conditioning, workouts, practices, games, and community events. Despite his stacked schedule, Fleming took demanding courses including Honors and Advanced Placement courses, completing his academic career with a 3.94 GPA.   

“We are extremely proud of Maddox,” stated Stampede head coach Marty Murray. “Playing hockey and juggling school is never easy, especially when having to attend classes remotely. Maddox was very dedicated to his school work and it is nice to see him rewarded for his efforts.” 

A native of Rochester, Minn., Fleming appeared in five games for the United States National Team Development Program before being traded to the Sioux Falls Stampede, where he tallied 34 points (10 G, 24 A) in 47 appearances. In his first season in the USHL with Team USA, Fleming recorded eight assists and six goals for 14 points in 27 games played.  

Fleming is expected to return to Sioux Falls to participate in the 2022-23 season with the Stampede. Upon completion of his USHL career, he plans to study at the University of Notre Dame.   

Forward - Owen Mehlenbacher (Muskegon Lumberjacks)

Muskegon Lumberjacks forward Owen Mehlenbacher has been named to the USHL All-Academic Team for the 2021-22 season.

The Fort Erie, Ontario native posted a 3.7 GPA, putting him among the top student-athletes in the United States Hockey League (USHL) this season. Coupled with his outstanding off-ice work, Mehlenbacher scored 17 goals and 25 assists for 42 points in just his second year with the Lumberjacks.

“Owen’s commitment to academics duplicates his commitment to his on-ice efforts,” said Lumberjacks Head Coach Mike Hamilton. “As a staff, we want to congratulate Owen for his hard work. Having players of his commitment levels makes our jobs as a staff really easy.”

Despite growing up in Canada and knowing how important academics are, Mehlenbacher chose the American system of junior hockey over the Canadian Major Junior route so he could play NCAA collegiate hockey while simultaneously obtaining a college degree.

“That’s really the reason why I chose the USHL was to not only get a degree in school but to also play college hockey,” said Mehlenbacher, who plans on majoring in Kinesiology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “I chose [Wisconsin] because they have a really good balance of excellent academics and a really good hockey program.”

Although he plans to pursue hockey as his number one career, Mehlenbacher is ready for a backup plan.

“After college, I want to go to school to become a chiropractor,” said Mehlenbacher. “Obviously I want to play professional hockey, but I have backup plans in place if it doesn’t work out.”

Defenseman - Austin Oravetz (Dubuque Fighting Saints)

Academic excellence reigns supreme once more in the Key City. Three of the six honorees on the 2022 USHL All-Academic Team suited up for the Dubuque Fighting Saints during the 2021–22 season. 

Since the USHL All-Academic Team was instated after the 2016–17 season, 12 of the 34 players honored have been Dubuque Fighting Saints. The list includes Alex Steeves, Jacob Semik, Aidan Fulp, Mason McCormick, Ty Jackson, Riley Stuart, Stephen Halliday, Connor Kurth, Hobie Hedquist, along with Burkholder, Oravetz and Geisel. The incredible dedication of Saints academic coordinator JoAnne Gibson has made Dubuque the most elite academic powerhouse in the league.

“Our assistant coaches, together with JoAnne, work tirelessly to ensure we have a support system for all players taking classes, whether it’s in high school or in college,” said Fighting Saints General Manager and President of Hockey Ops Kalle Larsson. “Their efforts are the foundation of the academic excellence our players have been experiencing in recent years. Being able to manage hockey and academics the way Paxton, Austin and Max has done is impressive. We are proud of their selections to the All-Academic Team.”

Oravetz, while uncommitted, put his best foot forward at Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School in his first season in the USHL as a member of the Fighting Saints.

Defenseman - Max Burkholder (Dubuque Fighting Saints)

­­­Burkholder, committed to Colorado College, completed this past year online through Chaska High School in Chaska, Minnesota. He finished his second season as a member of the Dubuque Fighting Saints.

Goaltender - Paxton Geisel (Dubuque Fighting Saints)

Geisel, committed to the University of Denver, completed his sterling academic year at The University of Texas at Austin High School, and is just coming off of being named a USHL All-Rookie selection.

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