Payne puts up points at NMU

January 26, 2016

He was part of a Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League championship team in 2010-2011 as a 40-goal scorer with the Soo Eagles and he’s now a sophomore forward with the Northern Michigan University Wildcats of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

Robbie Payne, a 1993 birth-year forward from Gaylord, Michigan — which is about 110 miles south of Sault Ste. Marie — has traveled a few roads to get to Marquette-based NMU since leaving the NOJHL and the Soo in 2011.

He starred for two seasons in the North American Hockey League with the erstwhile Kalamazoo Jr. Wings and at the urging of his advisor, David Maciuk, played a final season of junior with the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League before making the jump to the Division 1, WCHA level with NMU.

With 7 goals, 6 assists, 13 points in 24 games with Northern Michigan — which has a conference record of 7-7-4 thus far this season — Payne is the third-leading scorer on the Wildcats.

While happy with the play of his sophomore forward, long-time Northern Michigan coach Walt Kyle would like to see more from Payne.

“Robbie’s a good player but he needs to find consistency offensively,” said Kyle, the former National Hockey League coach who is in his 14th season as Northern Michigan’s hard-boiled bench boss.

Payne, meanwhile, said the hotly-contested, 10-team WCHA “is a league where any team can win on any given night. We have played the top teams and beat them and we have played the bottom teams and lost. You have to be ready to play every night in this league no matter who the team is,” he told

How close is the WCHA?

Well, for example, fifth-place Northern Michigan is just four points behind third-place Michigan Tech Huskies and only two points up on seventh-place Lake Superior State Lakers.

Payne thinks the Wildcats can move up in the standings with 10 games to play in the WCHA regular season.

“For us we just need to find our consistency and get on a roll,” he said. “We have the right players and we have the right team chemistry. Now it’s just about putting wins together and getting to the top of our league standings.”

Payne said peaking at the right time in 2010-2011 is what led the Eagles to the NOJHL title.

“My year in the Soo we were able to get on a roll at the right time and we took it all the way to a championship,” he recalled.

What you think about “Payne puts up points at NMU”

  1. A Good Player + A Good Kid = Success.
    Another “Grade A” Article by the best Junior Hockey Writer in these parts!

  2. that is 2 players on N.M.U. that I wish were playing for the Lakers .. Robby Payne & Denver Pierce.
    Nice articles.

  3. Great player, wonderful work ethic and a supportive and enthusiastic family. He was well liked and followed by many while playing for the Soo Eagles! Go Robbie, keep the Payne name on the clock!!

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