Utah Outliers

by Outliers Staff


The Utah Outliers are proud to announce that Assistant Captain Benji Mickel has committed to play NCAA hockey at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN for the 2019-20 season. The Colorado native played in Utah for two seasons and was instrumental in the team's success on and off the ice. In 51 games, the 98’ forward racked up 25 goals and 27 assists for 52 points.

“I decided to play at Gustavus based on a combination of factors such as the hockey program, academics and community. My campus visit solidified my decision as I was thoroughly impressed by the hospitality provided by the school’s admissions department, coaches, students and athletes. The athletic facilities are outstanding as it features an on-campus rink and a weight room just down the hall. Academically, Gustavus appeals to me because it is a top 50 liberal arts college in the United States."

Mickel had this to say about his two seasons in Utah, “My experience playing for the Outliers was top notch. The program provided me with an elite training environment built on outstanding ownership, coaches and facilities. The staff created an excellent leadership team that went above and beyond to develop and care for the players. I will be forever grateful to the program and my teammates. I am a better player having had the opportunity to train with other elite players and I am thankful for the lifelong friendships I made in my two years with the team."

Assistant Coach, Austin Balko was excited about hearing the news on Mickel's commitment to Gustavus. "Benji has really worked hard the past two seasons to elevate his game. He came to our team with a strong work ethic and a love for training. I believe our program was a perfect fit for him to help develop his athleticism and make him a better offensive player. He really developed his skills and his offensive instincts which allowed him to be a point-a-game player for us. I look forward to watching Benji take another step in his game as he moves on to play NCAA hockey."

Head Coach Paul Taylor also had high praise for Mickel stating, “Benji showed a great deal of development in our program over the past two seasons. He joined our team possessing good skating skills and a strong commitment to play hard each night. As time passed, he began to become much more offensive and a more well-rounded player. He eventually became a top end player for us and was utilized in every game situation from even strength, penalty kill and powerplay. Benji also raised his leadership skills and was a player that led by example each and every day. Gustavus is going to get a strong player for their program and a very determined and committed athlete. It will be exciting to watch Benji take the next step in his hockey career."

The Gustavus Golden Gusties compete in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC).

The Outliers wish Benji all the best and look forward to following his career at Gustavus!


The Utah Outliers are proud to announce that Wisconsin native and Assistant Captain, Kaeden Meuer is heading to the NCAA after making his decision to commit to Post University in Waterbury Connecticut. The gritty forward played for the Outliers for two seasons and brought a tenacious style of play to the team each time he stepped on the ice. Meuer tallied 11 goals and 27 assists for 38 points on the season. 

In regards to his commitment to the Post University Eagles , Meuer said, "I chose Post because of the relationships I made during my campus visit and it just felt like a great fit. The gym and rink are spectacular and it reminded me a lot of the Outliers facilities and I want to continue playing in an intense environment. In meeting some of the players, I got a good sense of how serious and committed they are and I look forward to being a part of that culture."

When asked about his time in Utah, Meuer stated that his experience is one that he will never forget. The coaches were great and always pushing me to go further in my development as a player and a person. The training was very intense both mentally and physically but it helped develop me in so many ways. The Outliers facilities are excellent and better than a lot of colleges I have seen. Lastly, the teammates I played with were unbelievable guys full of heart and dedication. I am so honored to have played for the Outliers and it is a place I will always call home!"

Assistant Coach Austin Balko had this to say about Meuer, “He was a workhorse each and every day. His dedication in the training center and on the ice was second to none. He came to our program and really seized each day as an opportunity to improve his game and his leadership. He has come a long way in the past two seasons and I am excited to watch him continue to develop at the college level." 

Head Coach Paul Taylor added, “Kaeden was a heart-and-soul type of player for our team. His enthusiasm was contagious on and off the ice and he always gave his best effort. He worked really hard over the past two seasons to improve his offensive skills while still staying true to his physical and energetic style of play. The other aspect of Kaeden's character was how great of an ambassador he was for our program. He spent a lot of hours doing community events and helping inspire young kids. We are going to miss Kaeden next season but I am very excited for him and look forward to following his career at the NCAA level -  It is well deserved!"

The Post University Eagles play NCAA Div. II  in the Central Atlantic Conference. 

We wish Kaeden the best of luck next season with his new team! 


June 11, 2019

The Utah Outliers are pleased to announce that defenseman and Assistant Captain, Dylan Dix has committed to play college hockey for the University of Utah's ACHA Div 1 men's hockey team for the 2019-20 season.

Dix, a California native, saw action in 49 games this season with the Outliers picking up 31 points on two goals and 31 assists. Upon arriving in Utah, his vast experience and leadership helped propel the Outliers to a terrific season and strong playoff run. 

After considering options at the NCAA level and professional hockey overseas, Dix decided to make the commitment to stay in Utah and play college hockey for the Utes. Dix had this to say regarding his commitment, 

"Having played junior hockey in various cities across the U.S. and spending some time in Canada I fell in love with Salt Lake City and the state of Utah. When deciding where to spend the next several years of my life I had to take into consideration not only hockey but academics and I feel the University of Utah offers me the best combination of both. The coaching staff at the "U" has a great plan to grow the program and I am excited to be part of it."

Of Dix's commitment to Utah, Head Coach Paul Taylor said, “Dylan played a big role in our team’s success last season and was a consistent defenseman on our blue line. He logged a ton of minutes for us and played in all key situations. Dylan is a big strong kid who plays a tough brand of hockey but added a lot of skill to his position over the course of the season. He was also a vocal leader in our dressing room and I expect him to bring that same type of leadership to his college team next season. I expect Dylan to be an impact player and excel at University of Utah."

Assistant Coach, Austin Balko believes Dix will make an easy transition to the college level. "Dylan has a strong compete level and is very driven to win. I believe he will be a driving force for his team next year and add a blend of skill and toughness to the group. He is very physical and can be intimidating to play against but also possesses the skills to be an impact player."

The defenseman was excited about his experience with the Outliers. “I was blown away by the Outliers training center and attention to detail that the coaching staff showed, not only team systems but player development. The coaches helped me improve and expand my offensive game and become more than a stay-at-home defenseman. We had an amazing group of guys on the team and I created some lifelong friendships. I could not have asked for a better end to my junior career." 

The Utah Outliers organization wants to thank Dylan for all his contributions to our program. We look forward to watching him lace up his skates for the Utes next season!


June 2, 2019

The Utah Outliers are pleased to announce that Illinois native, Jake Papesh has committed to play NCAA hockey for Bethel University for the 2019-20 season. 

The 6’ 3 defenseman played an integral role on the Outliers blueline last season. Jake's hard nose style combined with his offensive play was a big key to the team's success. Papesh finished the season with 31 points which was tied for the lead among defenseman. 

Papesh made his recent commitment to Bethel after taking a campus tour at the conclusion of his Outliers season. "After visiting Bethel for a couple days I felt like the school was one big family. The smaller class sizes are great and its considered a very good school academically. On the hockey side of things, everything was very professional from the coaching to the training facilities. I believe Bethel is the best place for me to continue my growth as a person and hockey player." 

When asked about his season with the Outliers, Papesh had this to say, "After spending two years in the NOJHL I decided to become an Outlier. I was unsure what to expect playing in the WSHL and with the Outliers but I am glad to say that going to play for Utah was one of the best decisions of my life. The training center where the team workouts every day is one of the best in all of Junior hockey. This is paired with an hour and a half of intense on-ice practice each day. These two things do not make a great Junior team though. What makes the Outliers is the team’s unbelievable staff. Coach Taylor and Coach Balko truly do everything they can to help players succeed and move them to the next level.  From the ownership to the coaches, this is a first class organization and I am happy to have had the opportunity to play here."

Assistant Coach, Austin Balko was thrilled to hear about Papesh's NCAA commitment. "Jake earned this opportunity with a ton of hard work and a commitment to develop his game. He came to our team as a defensive defenseman and really grew into a hybrid defenseman by the end of the season. His offensive game really flourished over time and he ended up being a big contributor on our back end." 

Head Coach, Paul Taylor believes Papesh will continue to build his game at the NCAA level. "Jake is a hard worker, intense competitor and a consistent performer. He is a player that gives you a hundred percent each shift and is reliable in all situations. He has really become an all-around defenseman that can add value on both sides of the puck. I expect him to be a strong addition to Bethel's lineup and help strengthen their blueline."

The Bethel Royals compete in the MIAC division of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. 

Papesh will join Outliers teammate Zak Albers at Bethel next season. 

We wish Jake all the best as he enters college hockey and look forwarding to following his career!


June 1, 2019

The Utah Outliers are proud to announce that Florida native, Matt Bartel, has committed to Liberty University to play for its men's hockey program for the 2019-2020 season. 

Bartel proved to be an offensive force for the Outliers, scoring 34 goals and acquiring 37 assists for a total of 71 points in 47 games. He developed into an offensive power forward and shared the team lead in goals. 

The Liberty Flames are a Div 1 team in the American Collegiate Hockey Association. The program is one of the top ranked Div 1 ACHA teams in the country and consists of players from the NAHL, BCHL and other Canadian Junior Tier II leagues.

Bartel committed to Liberty after taking a campus visit during the Outliers season. "I knew as soon as I saw the campus, facilities, and met with the coaches and players that I had found the right college for me," stated Bartel. "Although I had numerous NCAA schools offering me opportunities I just felt this program was the best fit for me." 

As for his time playing with the Outliers, Bartel had this to say, "After playing two seasons in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL), I wasn't sure what to expect in coming to Utah and the WSHL. However, my experience with the Outliers turned out to my best year of Junior hockey. My teammates were the closest group of guys I have ever played with and the coaching staff helped transform me into an offensive player. It was great to play for a group of coaches who cared not only about the success of the team but also in each individual's success. I am very grateful to have been part of the Outliers."

Assistant Coach Austin Balko believes Bartel will make an immediate impact at Liberty. "Matt has all the tools to be able to step in and be a big contributor at the college level. He can skate, has good hands and a lethal shot. He has a strong work ethic and is very competitive. I am excited to see him take this next step."

Head Coach Paul Taylor sees huge potential in Bartel. "Matt is a very good player. He has so many strong skill sets that make him an impact player on a nightly basis. He not only possesses the physical tools but he has a good feel for the game and is committed to playing on both sides of the puck. He is a very mature young man with a good head on his shoulders. I expect Matt to do very well at the college level and show that he is a top end player."

We wish Matt all the best and look forward to following his career at Liberty!


May 26, 2019

The Utah Outliers are proud to announce that Zak Albers has committed to play NCAA hockey at Bethel University for the 2019-20 season. The Maryland native came to Utah and made an impact immediately with the Outliers. In 34 games, the 98’ forward racked up 24 points and helped play a key role in the teams success.  

“My decision to pursue and education and hockey career with Bethel was an easy one. It offered a lot of the things I was looking for academically and in regards to the culture of the school. The hockey team is working hard to create a winning program and I am excited about it's potential and I know I can grow as a person and a player there."

Albers had this to say about his experience in Utah, “I didn't know what to expect when I came to play for the Outliers. I heard  great things about the program so I took a chance, and I am glad I did. My time playing for the program allowed me to elevate my game and become a dependable 200 ft. player. The program is centered around strong values and life lessons which makes the experience more than just playing hockey. I want to thank the Outliers for helping me reach my hockey goal of playing NCAA hockey."

“Zak played a pivotal role on our team," stated Assistant Coach Austin Balko. "He came in and learned how to play in various situations, scored some big goals and became a more dynamic player in the process. Zak has a strong work ethic and I believe he will continue to grow as a player and we wish him all the best.”

Head Coach Paul Taylor had high praise for Albers stating, “Zak grew a lot in our program this past season. He developed an offensive punch to his game to compliment his 6' 5" frame. He got off to a quick start for our team and was a strong contributor offensively until an unfortunate injury took him out of the line up for awhile. Zak is a great character player and will bring a lot of leadership to Bethel. I am confident he is going to take another step in his game as he moves on to play NCAA hockey. He is a competitor, very coachable and an excellent teammate." 

The Bethel Royals compete in the MIAC division of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. 

The Outliers wish Zak all the best and look forward to following his career at Bethel!


May 23, 2019

The Utah Outliers are pleased to announce that Colorado native Nicholas Ness is heading to the NCAA after making his decision to commit to Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. The 6’ 2” playmaking forward was a big part of the Outliers success this past season as he was heavily leaned on for his offensive production leading the team with 72 points. 

In regards to his commitment to the Concordia Cobbers, Ness said, "I was approached by various NCAA schools but I just felt that Concordia was the best choice for my future. They have everything I am looking for academically. I really enjoyed the campus during my visit and they have a winning tradition with their hockey program. I also have family who had attended Concordia so that also played a big factor in my decision."

When asked about his time in Utah, Ness stated that it was a great fit and somewhere he was able to improve his overall game. “I loved my time in Utah, and feel that I really became a more complete player. I really enjoyed the culture with the Outliers and all the training resources they give to players. The team is treated first-class and the coaching I received was excellent."

Assistant Coach Austin Balko shared, “Nick was a terrific player for our team. Having NAHL experience, we knew we were getting a talented player who could grow his game to become a more offensive threat.  He fully embraced our program and showed a strong commitment level to build his game.  I look forward to watching him excel at the college level."

Head Coach Paul Taylor added, “Nick really transformed his game this season. I feel he really grew his offensive arsenal while also becoming more consistent on the defensive side of the game. I believe Nick became a much better athlete from our off-ice training program and it really translated to his on-ice success as he became faster and stronger in a many areas of his play. He is a smart player with good instincts and I am excited to see Nick take his talents to the NCAA level."

The Concordia Cobbers of Minnesota compete in the MIAC division of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. 

We look forward to following Nick help Concordia continue with their winning tradition!