Michigan hockey finally got the long-awaited answer to one of its biggest offseason questions.
And it’s good news: Quinn Hughes will return for his sophomore season with the Wolverines.
Hughes, the No. 7 overall pick in June's NHL Entry Draft, made the announcement Saturday in a story published on Michigan’s athletics website.
"My heart's obviously still at Michigan," Hughes told MGoBlue.com. "I was heartbroken when we lost to Notre Dame in the Frozen Four last year. I've never really been on a team that cares so much about each other, and I think that's a big reason why I'm coming back, because I love my teammates.
"I think we have a good team this upcoming year, and I believe in the group. So, for me, I have a lot of goals in my mind. I want to be the best player in college hockey, and I want to win the national championship. I think we can do it with the group and the coaching staff we have, and we believe in each other.
"So, it was unfinished business, of course. I want to win. When I look back at my season last year, I had a great year. But I didn't win a national championship. So, that's my goal next year, and anything less than that would be disappointing."
Hughes, a 5-foot-10, 175-pound defenseman, was selected by the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the NHL Draft after helping lead the Wolverines to a 22-15-3 record and their first Frozen Four appearance since 2011.
He finished his freshman season with five goals and 24 assists — the most ever by a Michigan freshman defenseman — in 37 games.
An elite skater and puck-handler, Hughes was also No. 6 among North American skaters in the final NHL Central Scouting draft prospect rankings.
"I know that I can say everyone involved with Michigan hockey will be extremely excited to know that Quinn has decided to return to the University of Michigan for another season,” Michigan hockey coach Mel Pearson told MGoBlue.com.
“Quinn was one of college hockey's best players last year and I look forward to his continued development both on and off the ice. I also would like to thank the Vancouver Canucks organization for their cooperation and support."
Despite its fair share of personnel losses, particularly to its top line, Michigan will still have lofty expectations next season with Hughes and his defensive partner, Joseph Cecconi, back in the fold.
"My legacy at Michigan's important to me," Hughes said. "I want to do something special at Michigan — something that nobody's ever done."