Fall…

Forward and NHL Draft hopeful Jordan Masters (New Hampshire) was dismissed from the Muskegon Lumberjacks late last week, according to the Muskegon Chronicle (Mich.)

Masters was in his second season with the team and was dismissed for a violation of team rules, the team told the Chronicle. Masters had 15 points (5 goals, 10 assists) in 31 games this season. He was tied for sixth on the team in points.

His departure just adds to what has been season filled with turbulence for the Lumberjacks.

Muskegon, which is in its second season, came into the year with playoff expectations considering its roster was filled with players such as Masters plus defensemen Kevin Schulze (Wisconsin) and Nick Seeler (Nebraska-Omaha/Minnesota). Throw in forwards Ryan Lomberg (Maine) and NHL Draft hopeful Matt DeBlouw (Michigan State) into the mix yet Muskegon stumbled out of the gate losing five of its first six games by a margin of 34-16 and had a hard time trying to rebound.

Then the team tried to change the roster only to be left with potentially the most transactions of any team in the league.

Including Masters, the team has traded or released 10 players with at least 12 games this season. Some of those players include Seeler, who was traded a few days before the USHL Trade Deadline to Des Moines for affiliates list player and Blaine (MN-HS) defenseman Michael Brodzinski (Minnesota).

Brodzinski, a junior, was asked recently by Slightly Chilled about his plans for next season and he said they were unknown.

Another player the Lumberjacks lost was Schulze who was traded to Omaha and has helped the team emerge into the Western Conference leader and one of the league’s strongest powers this season.

Moving wasn’t restricted to just players with the team also firing former Wisconsin assistant coach Kevin Patrick. Patrick was fired by the team on Jan. 13 and was replaced by former NHL toughman Jim McKenzie, who prior to this season had no previous junior coaching experience.

The team announced on the same day it had also hired legendary Michigan State coach Ron Mason as a senior advisor.

Muskegon, despite keeping games closer, is 3-9 since it hired McKenzie and travels today to Ann Arbor, Mich. to face the NTDP’s U-17 team.

Whatever the future may hold for Masters it will not involve the USHL this season. The deadline to add players passed earlier in the month meaning Masters would have to spend the rest of the season at home and could return to the league next season unless he opts to enter New Hampshire.

The 5-11, 160-pound Masters came to Muskegon also with a lot of promise considering he represented USA Hockey at the Five Nations Tournament in 2010, his first season with the team. He helped Team USA win a gold medal at the tournament before scoring 11 points in 47 games last season.

Masters’ last game, according to Pointstreak, was Feb. 11 against Indiana. On Feb. 10 against Youngstown, he scored a goal giving him five points in his last nine games.

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