Al Montoya's Decision is In!

The decision Michigan hockey fans have been waiting for has been announced. Michigan goalie <b>Al Montoya</b> spoke with Michigan coach Red Berenson and, after being the No. 6 pick in the draft by the New York Rangers, gave the Wolverine skipper some good news.

Weeks after being the top draft pick for the New York Rangers and the No. 6 overall pick of the NHL draft, Montoya has decided to stay in school for one more, and possibly two more years.

"Al just spoke to Coach Berensen, so I'm at liberty to talk now," Montoya's mother Irene Silva said in an e-mail to "He is staying one more year (and) hopefully (two) to graduate. I knew he would make the right decision at the end. He is very smart and still listens to his mother, or so I think."

The decision came after a few long hard weeks of negotiations between Montoya and the Rangers. Montoya was expecting a deal similar to that given to No.10 overall pick, goalie Dan Blackburn, back in 2001. With the lockout looming ahead for the NHL, however, the Rangers weren't willing to offer him that amount and as a result Montoya will wear the winged helmet again in 2004-2005.

There was also pressure on Montoya to leave early by the New York fans. On a visit to New York, he was even honored by having a sandwich named after him at the Carnegie Deli. The "Al Cubano" is named to honor the fact that Montoya would be the first player of Cuban descent in the NHL.

Now that the decision has been made, Montoya can get back to work with teammates as the Wolverines get ready to make a run at their first national title since 1998. With Montoya back Michigan will certainly be the front runner.

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