Quinn Hughes is returning to the University of Michigan next season.
The 18-year-old, who led all Big Ten freshman defenseman with five goals and 29 points last season, revealed Saturday he'll play his sophomore season with the Wolverines. Hughes was otherwise considering signing an entry-level contract with the Canucks and making his debut in 2018-19.
"My heart's obviously still at Michigan," Hughes told MGoBlue.com. "I was heartbroken when we lost to Notre Dame in the Frozen Four last year. I've never really been on a team that cares so much about each other, and I think that's a big reason why I'm coming back, because I love my teammates.
"I think we have a good team this upcoming year, and I believe in the group. So, for me, I have a lot of goals in my mind. I want to be the best player in college hockey, and I want to win the national championship. I think we can do it with the group and the coaching staff we have, and we believe in each other.
"So, it was unfinished business, of course. I want to win. When I look back at my season last year, I had a great year. But I didn't win a national championship. So, that's my goal next year, and anything less than that would be disappointing."
Hughes, the youngest player in NCAA hockey last season, was drafted 7th overall by the Canucks at the 2018 NHL Entry Draft and in the media scrum following his selection, questions began to swirl about turning pro. At the time he said he would take his time to weigh all his options, and he reinforced that message at Canucks Prospects Development Camp in early July.
Hughes and Canucks GM Jim Benning are on the same page about another NCAA season being the right decision.
"We are in full support of Quinn's decision to continue his university career as he further develops as a hockey player and student. He now has an opportunity to be a leader at the University of Michigan and represent Team USA at the 2019 World Junior Championship in Vancouver. These are once-in-a-lifetime experiences that will only benefit Quinn's future career."
Video: Experience draft day with Quinn Hughes and his family