Andy Carreras poses in a UM-Dearborn jersey after signing to play hockey for the university March 19, 2015. Carreras, a Swartz Creek, Mich. native, played for the Syracuse Jr Stars last season. (Photo courtesy UM-Dearborn hockey)
Andy Carreras poses in a UM-Dearborn jersey after signing to play hockey for the university March 19, 2015. Carreras, a Swartz Creek, Mich. native, played for the Syracuse Jr Stars last season. (Photo courtesy UM-Dearborn hockey)
Andy Carreras poses in a UM-Dearborn jersey after signing to play hockey for the university March 19, 2015. Carreras, a Swartz Creek, Mich. native, played for the Syracuse Jr Stars last season. (Photo courtesy UM-Dearborn hockey)

By ERICK LEHMAN, Staff Reporter

The University of Michigan-Dearborn hockey team got its recruiting season started Thursday.

The Wolverines inked forward Andy Carreras, a Swartz Creek, Mich. native. He is listed at 5-foot-10, 181 pounds on eliteprospects.com.

Carreras played for the Bracebridge Phantoms of the GMHL in Canada, as well as the Syracuse Jr. Stars of the USPHL Elite league — two very well respected junior hockey leagues.

UM-Dearborn head coach Chris Haltinner raved about Carreras’ play in a phone interview with the Journal Thursday morning, most notably his play in a high level league with top talent.

According to Carreras, he will bounce between left wing and center, his two best positions on the ice.

“The goal is to be in the lineup every night,” Carreras said in a phone interview after the signing. “I want to help the team win a national championship.”

UM-Dearborn was not the only option for Carreras. He said five NCAA Division-3 schools contacted him, as well as two ACHA Division-1 schools, including new Great Lakes Collegiate Hockey League member, Rochester College.

It was an easy choice for Carreras to choose the Wolverines, from an educational standpoint as well as proximity to home.

“They have the classes I want here,” Carreras said. “I’m looking into business and engineering. It just felt right being here. Playing in Canada and Syracuse, I wasn’t able to see my family often, playing here I can see them.”

But those were not the only reasons Carreras chose UM-Dearborn. He is a legacy, of sorts here as his uncle was a goaltender for university during the 1980s.

Carreras is also quite familiar with some of the big time talent on the Wolverines roster.

Russian phenom Andrei Novikov’s name stuck out right away when he searched through the roster.

“As soon as I saw Novikov, I knew this was legit,” Carreras said. “I played against him in Canada, and he was really good. If a team can bring in that kind of talent, you know they are gonna be a really good team, which was the first selling point, just seeing him on the roster.”

Carreras got to know the team a little bit over winter break this past year. He came in and skated with the team during break, which he says went really well.

“Skating with them over break was great, they all liked me and said they wanted me to come play with them next year,” Carreras said. “I really want a team that’s a family, and I definitely have that here.”

Carreras is excited to begin his career with UM-Dearborn.

“I’m honored and excited to play here,” Carreras said. “I’m happy to represent the maize and blue.”