Josh Nodler
Josh Nodler (Michigan State University)

Despite finishing 7-18-2, Oak Park native and Michigan State University sophomore forward Josh Nodler believes the season was a success because there was a season in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The statistics aren’t mind-boggling.

Josh Nodler played in 27 games this season for the Michigan State University hockey team. The 5-foot-10, 193-pound sophomore forward from Oak Park had three goals and eight assists for 11 points.

The Spartans finished 7-18-2.

Despite those numbers, the season was a success, in Nodler’s estimation, because at least there was a season in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m 100% appreciative and thankful to have a season,” Nodler said.

Only one series was postponed, and that wasn’t Michigan State’s fault. It was Wisconsin that had the COVID-19 issues.

Nodler and the rest of the Michigan State players had to abide by a multitude of pandemic protocols and restrictions to stay on the ice.

“We were tested nearly every day,” Nodler said. “That was a pain at first, but it became part of our routine.”

Wearing a mask was mandatory in most places. On the ice and in the locker room were the biggest exceptions.

Road trips meant hours in a hotel and most meals eaten there.

“Things were much more restrictive on the road than my freshman season,” Nodler said.

Nodler is happy about his progress as a player this season.

“I was more comfortable, and I felt I made a bigger impact on the team with my skating and physicality,” the Calgary Flames draftee said. “I’m going to work hard this summer so I can make an even bigger impact next season.”

Nodler played in 36 Michigan State games as a freshman and had three goals and five assists. He was named the Spartans’ Rookie of the Year.

A Berkley High School graduate who was a member of the National Honor Society there, Nodler has stayed strong in the classroom.

The computer science major was one of 110 Michigan State winter athletes who were named to the Big Ten’s Academic All-Conference Team.

To be eligible for the honor, a student must be on a varsity team, be enrolled full-time at his or her school for a minimum of 12 months and carry a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or higher.

Nodler was selected in the fifth round of the 2019 NHL draft by the Flames.

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