On Wednesday, Jed Pietila (Hartland, 2017) announced his verbal commitment to join NCAA Michigan Tech next fall. This huge accomplishment marks both a beginning and an end for the defenseman, who’s traveled a long and challenging road to reach college hockey.
I am very excited to announce my commitment to play Division 1 college hockey at Michigan Technological University. A huge thank you to my family, teammates, and coaches who have helped me along that way! #gohuskies pic.twitter.com/zvZvsH39S0— Jed Pietila (@pietilahockey19) April 15, 2020
In 2016-17, Pietila was a forward for the Eagles, compiling 20 goals and 55 points and was named First-Team All-State during his senior year. The following season, The 6-footer transitioned to defense and played for the TPH Thunder out of Atlanta for 16 games, and then played a total of 27 games in the NAHL for three different teams as a bit of a journeyman before settling in with the Austin Bruins. There, Pietila played 126 games from 2018 to 2020, compiling 17 goals and 61 points from the blue line and was named captain for the 2019-20 season.
This season, Pietila ranked in the top 20 among NAHL defensemen in points with 29, along with fellow MI-HS alumni Sam Brennan (Brighton, 2018) who had 30 and Jake Beaune (Livonia Stevenson, 2018) who had 29 as well.
Pietila’s path to college hockey is not an unusual one for MI-HS players. Actually, his route with four stops in three years may be a bit more common. In some cases, the process of finding the “right fit” can be a long and challenging road through junior hockey. His perseverance should be commended, as far too often, the first signs of adversity as far as a change in teams or a trade to a new location can send some kids into a tailspin. Pietila stayed the course, ultimately landing — and thriving — in Austin, and getting rewarded with a commitment to in-state program Michigan Tech.
The former Hartland standout joins two other MI-HS alumni in the Huskies’ Class of 2020, with Oliver Bezick (De La Salle, 2020) and Alex Nordstrom (Hancock, 2019) also set to be on campus next fall. It’s been a popular destination for MI-HS prospects, as Raymond Brice (Houghton, 2014) Jake Crespi (Brighton, 2017) and Todd Kiilunen (Brighton, 2016) all sported the black and gold last season for Michigan Tech.