For Superior native Nieusma, commitment to NCAA D-III Lake Forest best fit for hockey, academics
Andrew Nieusma just wrapped up his final season of junior hockey with the USPHL’s Northern Cyclones, but he’s far from taking off the skates.
The Superior native will play college hockey next season after recently committing to NCAA Division III Lake Forest College, an NCHA school located about 30 miles north of Chicago on Lake Michigan.
He’ll also be joining fellow Cyclones teammate and Colorado native (Louisville) Jackson Tillinghast with the Foresters.
“Throughout the season, there was a bunch of teams coming to watch my team and I play, and Lake Forest happened to be one of the teams that reached out to me and let me know they were interested,” said Nieusma. “They play in a great conference and are an awesome academic institution, so it ended up being a wonderful fit. It’s definitely a dream come true to play college hockey, and it’s something that has been a goal for me for a long time. All of the work that has been put in, not just from myself, but from my family and all of my teammates and coaches really puts it into perspective on how awesome this opportunity is.
“It’s great to be playing with ‘Tilly’ there for sure. He’s one of my best friends and we’ve already played together for five years so I’m excited to have another four coming up. So far, we’ve had pretty good success together so I’m looking forward to continuing seeing our names on the scoresheet together.”
Nieusma added that Lake Forest is the complete package for his college career.
“Like I said before, their conference is arguably one of the best in D-III hockey and you always want to play against the best competition you can,” he said. “Not only is the hockey competitive but so is the academic side. I’m looking forward to getting back in the classroom and getting a great education while I continue playing the game I love.”
This season as a captain with the Cyclones, based in Hudson, N.H., Nieusma tallied 16 goals and 54 points during the regular season with another 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in nine postseason games.
“Being at the Northern Cyclones was one of the best places I have ever been,” Nieusma said. “Coach (Bill) Weiand and the whole organization do an amazing job with everything, on and off the ice. Coach Weiand specifically is one of the best coaches I’ve ever had. He does an incredible amount of work for every single guy to really give them everything they could need and provide the opportunity to play college hockey. Our division was super deep and wherever teams were in the standings, anyone could win any game. It was a ton of fun to play under pressure in a lot of close games all year long. That competition helps guys from our league move on the next level, which is awesome to see.
“My time with the Cyclones was the best of my life. The last two years have been an absolute blast with the best teammates I could ever ask for. I’ll definitely look back and be so happy I got to spend time here with all the guys.”
The offseason now here, Nieusma can focus on a much-deserved break and preparing for the late-summer move to Illinois.
“Yeah, having a place to go for next season always makes the summer way less stressful,” said Nieusma. “As for plans for the summer, it’s pretty much the same as always. Take a couple of weeks off and enjoy visiting with friends and family before getting back into the routine and enjoying getting better every day.
“As of right now, I’m going to major in Business and minor in Psychology, but that can always change. In the short term, I’d love to play hockey as long as I can, whether that be here or overseas, and then from there, take the opportunities that I have to stay in the game of hockey.”
During his youth hockey career, Nieusma played for the Boulder Bison, Rocky Mountain RoughRiders and Colorado Springs Tigers.
— Matt Mackinder
(April 8, 2022)