In 2011/12, A.J. Michaelson helped the Black Hawks reach the Clark Cup Championship Series. Dressing for 53 regular season games, he recorded six goals and 14 assists. Michaelson ratcheted up his performance in the playoffs, appearing in all 15 games, scoring twice and adding five helpers. Both of his playoff goals were recording during vital road wins as Waterloo stole home ice from the Omaha Lancers and Lincoln Stars.
GopherSports.com recently caught up with Michaelson for their “Around the Dasher” series.
A native of Apple Valley, Minn., Michaelson has appeared in 83 NCAA games for Minnesota with 12 points (five goals, seven assists).
Q: First off, you returned to the lineup last Sunday after missing seven games with an injury. Was it hard sitting out for most of the last month and how does it feel to be back on the ice?
A: It feels great to be back. It was certainly tough to miss so much of the season, but we were on a bit of a hot streak there, and that made it a little more bearable. Now we just have to get back to that and keep improving going forward. We have ten games left, and every one of them is going to be important.
Q: You’ve always been a pretty big golf buff, and this summer you played in the 2015 Minnesota State Amateur. How did you pick up golf?
A: I’ve played golf pretty much my entire life…just like hockey. My uncle got me into it, helping me in the summers with my swing and stuff like that. He pushed me to play in a few tournaments over the summer, and luckily I played well in one and qualified for the state amateur. It was a great experience. I had a lot of fun with it even though I didn’t play very well.
Q: Of all the guys on the team, who’s the best golfer?
A: Well…Brady Skjei and I used to go head to head. This year – Kloos is a pretty good player. So is Bischoff. I hear Romanko is pretty good too…next summer we’ll have to go out and play.
Q: In addition to golf, you’re adding another extracurricular activity this semester with your scuba diving class. It’s still early in the semester, but how is that going?
A: So far it’s going great. I didn’t really know what to expect from it when I signed up. I’ve enjoyed it though. It’s actually been harder than I thought it would be. The first day we had to tread water for half an hour – that was pretty tough.
Q: With this being your final year with the Gophers and with you being a Minnesota kid who grew up not too far away, what has it meant to you to be a part of this program?
A: I’ve wanted to play at the University of Minnesota since I was about five years old. I grew up skating on outdoor rinks wearing a Gopher Hockey jersey. When I started looking at college, I had a couple programs that showed interest. But once I heard from Minnesota, I knew it was the place to go. I’ve had a great experience here, and it’s meant the world to me to play for the Gophers.
Q: Looking back…who is your favorite Gopher Hockey player of all time?
A: That’s tough. Probably either Troy Riddle or Thomas Vanek.
Keep up with the latest on Michaelson, as well as former Black Hawks Justin Kloos, Taylor Cammarata, Tyler Sheehy, and Tom Novak at GopherSports.com
Where Are They Now is presented by Karen’s Print Rite. Photo courtesy of University of Minnesota Athletics.