Jay Keranen was a key part of arguably the best top-six defensive corps in all of the CJHL last year with the Prince George Spruce Kings. As someone who doesn’t play a flashy game and doesn’t always put up a lot of points, it could have been easy for some to overlook the quality of his play. That clearly wasn’t the case though as Keranen has announced he’s heading home next season to play for the University of Michigan Wolverines.
The 21-year-old played two years in Prince George, getting in 98 regular-season games and contributing a goal and 12 assists. Last season, Keranen won a Fred Page Cup as the Spruce Kings rolled through the BCHL playoffs with a 16-1 record. He was injured in Game 2 of his team’s Doyle Cup series win over the Brooks Bandits and didn’t play the remainder of the series, but was able to return during the National Junior A Championships where Prince George made it all the way to the finals.
Before joining the Spruce Kings early in the 2017-18 season, Keranen played for the Topeka Roadrunners in the North American Hockey League (NAHL).
The Brighton, Mich. native should have plenty of family and friends at home games as the school’s campus in Ann Arbor, Mich. is only a half-hour drive from his hometown.
The school has a rich hockey history and currently holds the record for most NCAA titles with nine, most recently winning in 1998.
Plenty of Michigan alums have made an impact at the highest level, including Mike Knuble, the school’s NHL games-played leader with 1,068 over a 17-year career and Red Berenson, who has the most NHL points by a Wolverines alum with 658. They’ve also produced other notables like Mike Cammalleri, Brendan Morrison, Max Pacioretty and most recently Vancouver Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes.
The Wolverines play in the Big Ten conference and compete against Michigan State, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin.
Keranen joins teammates Nick Bochen (2020-21) and Finlay Williams (2021-22) as Michigan commits. Other BCHL players committed to the Wolverines include Merritt Centennials alum Nick Granowicz (2019-20), Trail Smoke Eaters forward Kent Johnson (2020-21) and former Penticton Vee Cassidy Bowes (2020-21).
Last year’s Michigan roster featured a pair of BCHL alums in Wenatchee Wild grad Dakota Raabe and former Vernon Viper Jimmy Lambert.