The U-M’s winter sports have been shrouded by the giant shadow of the Wolverine’s Big Ten Football Championship and run to their semi-final berth against Georgia on New Year’s Eve. But that’s only the most surprising success of the season.

This past spring, four of the first five players taken in the National Hockey League draft came from the U-M. That had never happened before and, with most players now coming from Europe or the Canadian professional leagues, is unlikely to ever happen again. A fifth Michigan player was also drafted in the first round, with numerous others selected in later rounds.

That left coach Mel Pearson with one of the youngest teams in the country. They’re delivering exciting and sometimes jaw-‘dropping hockey, scoring more goals than anyone in the country through mid-‘December. The downside: players trying to make flashy, near-impossible passes often end up giving the puck away.

Still, it seems probable that by the end of the year, the Wolverines will be in the NCAAs with a number one or two seed.