Mason Klee (courtesy Hickling Images)
On Tuesday, Mason Klee became the latest Lincoln Stars player to announce his commitment to play NCAA division I hockey. The right-handed defenseman will head to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, making him the fifth current player, and sixth with Stars ties to commit to college in 2018-19.
“Well first off, it’s a really good school and that’s important for me, just to get a good education while I’m there,” said Klee. “The coaching staff was great. They were really straightforward with me, so that really caught my interest. They have a great hockey tradition there. I’m really looking forward to that.”
RPI has been an attractive destination for the Stars in recent years, with Klee’s announcement coming shortly on the heels of affiliate player Max Itagaki’s commitment to the Engineers. Current Stars Zach Dubinsky and Tristan Ashbrook are committed to be Engineers as well. The quartet will follow former Stars forward Patrick Polino to RPI, where the one-time Lincoln assistant captain is currently a junior.
“I definitely talked to Doober [Zach] and TA [Tristan] about it,” Klee said of his current and future teammates. “They both really liked it as well. They’re committed there-they also really loved the coaching staff, the rink, and honestly just everything about the school. I think we’re all excited to get in there.”
The Engineers hockey program, founded in 1901, is a storied member of the NCAA division I hockey and is currently entering its second season with head coach Dave Smith at the helm. The program is a two-time national champion boasting an alumni list that includes Ken Hammond, Joe Juneau, Mike McPhee, Adam Oates, and Brandon Pirri among many others. Klee is excited to get to work for the historic program.
“First off, hard work I would say I'm just always working hard in practice and in games,” he said of what he brings to a team. “As a player, I would say I’m solid defensively and I like to jump up into the rush when I can, just to try and get some offense going.”
Klee came to Lincoln last season after being selected in the 12th round of the USHL’s 2016 Phase II Draft. In 63 games last year, the Colorado native scored a goal and five assists, channeling his steady play into being named to the USHL’s All-Rookie 2nd Team. Before he heads off to the college ranks, Klee, 19 tomorrow, is determined to continue his growth while in Lincoln.
“For me personally, I just want to keep getting better every day and just keep adding to my game progressively each day,” he said. “As a team we want to win the Clark Cup. I think we can. We have a really good group of guys here. It’s going to be hard work, but I think we can get it done.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 17th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2018-19. The USHL had a record 45 players selected at the 2018 NHL Draft, more than any junior league in the world, and more than 400 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.
Tag(s): Player News