In a world of instant gratification, Mitchell Chaffee’s story is one that serves as a reminder of the value of patience and persistence. Growing up in Michigan, Mitchell learned to skate at age 4 by emulating his older brother, but growth required a move from the western portion of the state to Detroit and the U16 Honeybaked team.
Despite a strong showing with Honeybaked, Mitchell was passed over in the USHL draft, but true to form Mitchell took the disappointment in stride and viewed it as an opportunity to improve.
“It’s always tough when you get passed up in a draft, but many kids don’t get drafted and I just told myself I was going to get better and make the USHL next year.”
Despite the setback, opportunity would soon knock again, this time in the form of a tryout at the Muskegon Lumberjacks‘ camp. Mitchell didn’t leave camp with a roster spot, but he did get offered a place in the organization on the affiliate list. Undeterred, Mitchell returned to Honeybaked where he learned mid-season that he had been traded from Muskegon to Bloomington. It was in Bloomington where Mitchell’s USHL career would begin. Mitchell never regretted giving up a starring role with Honeybaked to take on more of a support role in Bloomington.
“Playing in Bloomington has made me so much better in just one year I’ve gotten faster, stronger and just improved my game by so much. It’s tough being a younger kid in the league, but you get used to the pace of the games. If I had the chance to play U18 or go to the USHL no doubt I would come play in the USHL again.”
While Mitchell was drafted in the OHL in 2014, and tempted by the CHL, he ultimately chose the NCAA path because of the opportunity to earn a degree while also considering playing options beyond college. For Mitchell, the next step has been the NCAA recruiting process where he caught the eye of D1 programs including Michigan, UMass Amherst, Providence, and Western Michigan. He ultimately chose UMass.
“I chose UMass because of the school, the coaching staff and thought it was the best opportunity to prepare me for an opportunity to play after college.”
There is no denying the coaching change that brought Associate Head Coach Ben Barr to UMass Amherst played a role.
Though his path seems set for the moment, Mitchell is not forgetting what has allowed him to find success and the need to continue to grow as a player in preparation for his debut in Massachusetts.
“I am a big power forward who makes plays but can also shoot the puck. I’m looking to improve on my conditioning and consistency.”
The big 3.5-star power forward out of Rockford, MI is due to enroll in the fall of 2017 and is the fourth forward commit for the 2017 Recruiting Class.
Photo Credit: Dan Hickling/Hickling Images