YOUNGSTOWN, OH – Youngstown Phantoms’ defenseman Steven Holtz has announced his commitment to play for the University of Michigan, following his 2018-2019 season in the United States Hockey League (USHL).
The 6’3 185 lbs. right shot defensemen from Detroit, Michigan, joined the Phantoms last season after playing for the Detroit Compuware U18 AAA club (HPHL U18) and was the Phantoms’ 20th round (316th overall) draft selection in the Phase II USHL Draft in 2017.
Holtz played 30 games with the Phantom in 2017-2018 registering a 1-5-6 line and then had a strong playoff performance garnering four assists and appearing in all eleven Phantoms’ playoffs games where he established himself as one of the top defensemen on the club.
“I want to thank my parents, my brother, my coaches, and my friends, and all my teammates who have taught me lessons beyond the hockey rink, “said Holtz. “I am truly grateful as well as humble to announce my commitment to the University of Michigan. Dreams do come true and go blue ! I’m excited to return to Youngstown and finish what we started in our mission to win a Clark Cup next season with my other returning teammates and staff.”
“This is a wonderful story for Steven and his family“ said Phantoms’ General Manager Jason Koehler. “Here we have a young man who wasn’t able to make some of the top AAA clubs in Detroit for a few of his key development years and then made the most of an opportunity given to him by Compuware U18 Head Coach Andy Copp for his senior year of high school last year and Steven ran with it. Honestly, before that season we had no clue who Steven Holtz was and with some communication with Andy (Copp) and our coaches (Jeff Potter and Tom Upton) getting a chance to see him play in November and December of 2016 and then us having him in to visit and skate with us shortly after – the last two seasons of hockey for Steven have been a whirlwind of junior / college / and pro hockey interest and Steven is just now beginning to see the level of player he has the potential to be. A number of colleges were after Steven this second half and the staff at Michigan (Mel Pearson, Brian Wiseman, and Bill Muckalt) felt confident about him enough to not risk losing a top young in-state defenseman and we think they made a great choice as we feel Steven Holtz should be one of the top defensemen in the USHL next year and we’re thrilled to have him return as one of our anchors on the blue line next season.”
Former Phantom forwards Kyle Connor and Andrew Sinelli have also attended the University of Michigan and current Phantom defenseman Jake Gingell will be heading to Ann Arbor this fall to start his college career.