When Ben Muthersbaugh was on a recruiting trip to Union, the last thing Dutchmen men’s hockey head coach Josh Hauge showed the New Jersey Titans forward was the 2014 NCAA national championship trophy that is in a display case in the lobby of Messa Rink.
Needless to say, he was very impressed.
“Just seeing that, and being a part of [the future] and, hopefully, bringing one of those back to back to town would be unbelievable,” Muthersbaugh said in a telephone interview last week.
Muthersbaugh, a 6-foot-2, 181-pound forward from Gilford, New Hampshire, announced his commitment to the Dutchmen last week. The 19-year-old Muthersbaugh will arrive at Union either for the 2024-25 season or in 2025-26. He will play this season for the United States Hockey League’s Cedar Rapids RoughRiders.
Muthersbaugh was at Cedar Rapids’ camp a few weeks ago, and he said that Hauge was there.
“I was followed up by him after that week,” Muthersbaugh said. “I actually was on a little vacation, so when I got back, I went up to New York and took a nice tour of the campus. And I loved it. I loved the coaching staff. The facilities were great. I love how they handled things. And, obviously talking with my parents and talking with my advisor, I just, I really felt that that was a place that I could see myself for four years.”
NCAA rules prohibit Hauge from commenting on Muthersbaugh’s commitment until he’s officially enrolled at Union.
Muthersbaugh was happy with the way Hauge treated him.
“Just his overall care level, and really made me feel like I was just welcomed,” Muthersbaugh said. “He almost made me feel like I was a player on the team.”
Last season with the Titans, Muthersbaugh had 21 goals, which was second on the team, and 19 assists in 58 games. He scored three goals in three playoff games.
Muthersbaugh considers himself a power forward.
“I like to get around the net,” he said. “I’m definitely thinking offense first. And obviously, defense is a big part of it. You can’t win championships without ‘D.’”
Titans head coach and general manager Craig Doremus believes Union is getting a special player.
“He brought a professional attitude to the rink every day,” Dormeus said in a telephone interview last week. “[He’s a] very motivated, goal-driven kid. Kept his eyes on the prize. I think he came to the rink eager to work. … I thought he held himself to a pretty high standard.”
Muthersbaugh is hoping he can quickly develop and improve his game so that he can join Union in 2024-25.
“That would be ideal,” Muthersbaugh said. “If I could go out there and have a good year and take that next step right to the NCAA, that would be great. But, if all doesn’t go as planned and I have to take that two years, I’m not one of those kids that’s completely against it.”