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V.23 : I.5 | NOVEMBER 12, 2012

FIRST CLASS

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*The new stick to be of equal or lesser value to the DT1 or DT2 stick you purchased. For additional information and conditions please visit www.warrior.com/covert or contact Warrior Customer Service at 1-800-968-7845 (US) or 1-866-966-6092 (Canada)

TABLE OF CONTENTS

NOVEMBER 12, 2012 VOLUME 23: ISSUE 5 10 THE LOCKER ROOM Talking hockey on Facebook and Twitter

12 SLIDESHOW

Some of our favorite photos from Instagram

14 SPEAKING OF HOCKEY

What high school team will you be cheering for this year?

16 GET BETTER

‘Jam The Zone’ passing

16 YOU SHOULD KNOW

Michigan State’s David Bondra

22 HOMETOWN HEROES Oxford’s Nathan Gerbe

24 YOUTH HOCKEY

Girls teams raise money for breast cancer research

28-29

SANTA KNOWS HIS WAY AROUND THE RINK… But you might need a little help figuring out what the hockey player, parent, coach or fan in your life wants this holiday season. We’ve got you covered.

32 ACHA HOCKEY

Wayne State progressing through first season

36 PLYMOUTH WHALERS

NHL lockout means more OHL hockey for Austin Levi

40 RED WINGS INSIDER

Winter Classic cancellation a crushing blow for all parties

34

COLLEGE HOCKEY

Bloomfield Hills native A.J. Treais off to a fast start for the Wolverines

4

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38

GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS

Rookie forward Tomas Jurco is settling in with the Griffins

42

LOOK FOR OUR NEXT ISSUE LAST LINE

Darren Eliot shares some of his fondest memories from the holiday season

MiHockeyNow.com

NOVEMBER 26, 2012

To advertise in MiHockey please contact Lucia Zuzga at (248) 479-1134 or lucia@mihockeynow.com, or Michael Caples at (248) 479-1136 or mcaples@mihockeynow.com

November 12, 2012 V.23 : I.5

FROM THE EDITOR MIHOCKEYMAG EDITOR Michael Caples

mcaples@mihockeynow.com

ADVERTISING & DISTRIBUTION Lucia Zuzga lucia@mihockeynow.com

DESIGN Emily Huston Chuck Stevens CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Darren Eliot Brian Kalisher Stefan Kubus Kyle Kujawa Matt Mackinder Dave Waddell

ADMINISTRATIVE DIRECTORS Amy Jones Anne Ellis

@michaelcaples

BY MICHAEL CAPLES LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: MICHIGAN HOCKEY® welcomes Letters to the Editor. E-mail mcaples@mihockeynow.com

MICHIGAN HOCKEY is published by SUBURBAN SPORTS COMMUNICATIONS, LLC 23995 Freeway Park Drive, Suite 200, Farmington Hills, MI 483352829.

POSTMASTER: Send address changes to MICHIGAN HOCKEY®, 23995 Freeway Park Drive, Suite 200, Farmington Hills, MI 48335-2829. ©2011 by Suburban Sports Communications. All Rights Reserved. The opinions and views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of MICHIGAN HOCKEY or its advertisers. All editorial copy, photographs and advertising materials remain the property of MICHIGAN HOCKEY.

MICHIGAN HOCKEY 23995 Freeway Park Drive•Suite 200 Farmington Hills, MI 48335-2829 (248) 478-2500 • FAX: (248) 478-1601 E-MAIL: mcaples@mihockeynow.com WEBSITE: mihockeynow.com

PHOTOS AT LEFT: Photo by Chuck Stevens/ MiHockey, A.J. Treais (courtesy of CCHA/University of Michigan Athletics), Tomas Jurco (Mark Newman/Grand Rapids Griffins) COVER: Photo by Chuck Stevens/MiHockey, design by Emily Huston/ MiHockey

Cover reprints available e-mail: mcaples@mihockeynow.com

November 12, 2012 V.23 : I.5

IN MICHIGAN, THERE’S NEVER A HOCKEY SHORTAGE It’s not a great time for hockey in general. I can’t start this column making it sound like everything’s perfect in our sport. It’s not. Any time there are problems at the top, at hockey’s highest stage, it has a ripple effect. That ripple effect is getting to our state more than any other. Months ago, we were all making plans for a historic few weeks: hockey at Comerica Park for Pee Wees on up, a record-breaking crowd at the Big House for Wings vs. Leafs after. Massive amounts of money and exposure were to come to both our hockey community, and our economy as a whole. Now “they” say it will be back for 2013 and 2014. That everything will get straightened out between the players and the owners in time to have everything simply bumped back a year, and us, the hockey fans of Michigan, receive what we were promised last year. Hopefully it still happens. On a personal note, I sure was excited to spend weeks watching outdoor hockey at Comerica Park, and I sure was bummed when the cancellation was finalized. But you know what I realized after, the same day we were posting the latest updates about the cancellations on MiHockeyNow.com? That hockey is still alive and well. You can’t stop it. The Michigan State Spartans and the Bowling Green Falcons dropped the puck three hours after the NHL confirmed that there would be no Winter Classic. The Michigan Wolverines and the Northern Michigan Wildcats did the same two hours later. The Plymouth Whalers played a road game in Sarnia. The Grand Rapids Griffins played a road game in San Antonio. And the majority of rinks in our state were filled with

MiHockeyNow.com

house and travel games for every age group. We’re lucky, here in Michigan. There’s enough hockey for us to get through this lockout. We need to remember that, and we need to remind our casual-hockey-fan friends. Take them to a college game. Take them to a juniors game. Heck, take them to a random Squirt A game – sometimes that’s more enjoyable than any other level. Plus, high school hockey is here. I would know – we’re in the midst of orchestrating our ‘captains’ photoshoot today (the same day we send the magazine to the printers) for the cover of the second MiHockeyMag in November. This issue of the magazine has been designed - like every issue - to show how much hockey we have here. From front to back, we have youth hockey. We have college hockey. We have junior hockey. And we have pro hockey. Starting next issue, we will have high school hockey, too. We also have Santa playing hockey. Don’t know how that happened…thought he was still at the North Pole prepping for his big day. In my opinion, as long as Santa still comes to the Mitten for hockey, I think we’re going to be OK. If Santa stops coming, then maybe hockey’s in trouble. But I saw him at the rink a few weeks ago, so we’re good. Hope you enjoy this issue of MiHockeyMag. Don’t forget to check out our website, MiHockeyNow.com, where we give you your hockey fill every single day. See you at a rink soon,

MiHockeyMag

5

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THE LOCKER ROOM

THE

LOCKERROOM

ON THE FLY

TWO FOR TWEETING

Some of our readers were kind enough to share their Halloween costumes with us – here were a few of our favorites.

LOCKER ROOM POLL Friday, Nov. 2, the NHL officially canceled the Winter Classic, thus canceling the Hockeytown Winter Festival Q: On as well. We let our readers share their thoughts about the sad news on our Facebook page. Here are some of the comments posted:

A:

BOB ROSE There are massive amounts of minor pro, college, and Jr hockey teams in Michigan that can still use support, so despite the disappointment, get out and support those teams and support USA Hockey to grow the quality of the game we love with or without the NHL..... It’s not a career, it’s a passion for a lifestyle that makes the game GREAT!

JÖCELYN STOTT Weeping. Icy tears of sorrow. LAURA MYSLIWIEC HOSKINS Need a support group to handle the hockey withdrawal I’m having! BETSEE THOMPSON The players and the NHL are shooting themselves in the foot. Or feet. Whatever. I pretty much don’t even care anymore. Play, don’t play. Whatever. TARA NOFFSINGER The economic impact for our State is going to be massive! I am hoping Gary Bettman finally loses his job over this one, the one good thing he did for the game was the Winter Classic... he has now managed to screw that up pretty good. So sad for all of the High School teams (and other clubs) that this will effect. ALEX CRISTEN Who’s riding the fan van to Moscow with me to watch some khl? They don’t whine about the money, they play the game.

10

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CLAUDE TUNISON The NHL has spent so much effort on the fans they don’t have; they are losing the ones they do have. STEVE AHONEN Egos and big cash usually lead to problems. The most aggravating part of all this, is once this is finally settled, and of course it will be, both sides, as well as the FANS will have lost. Whatever settlement is finally agreed to could have been so a month or two ago. What a waste. Both sides have lost measurable respect and deservedly so.

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November 12, 2012 V.23 : I.5

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SLIDESHOW

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MiHockeyMag

13

SPEAKING OF HOCKEY

As the high school hockey season begins, we asked our Facebook friends…

“What high school hockey team will you be cheering for this season?” For each issue of the magazine, we will post a question on Facebook, and one randomly selected answer will win a Warrior prize pack: hoodie, hat, and T-shirt. Good luck!

WINNER Northville Mustangs Girls Hockey Teams, Varsity A & Varsity B, because girls hockey rules!

Calumet Copper Kings

— Suzanne Schimanski-Gross

Jared Johnson

Brighton Bulldogs!!! Michael L. Milletics

West Ottawa Panthers Austen Ayres

Grandville Bulldogs Brian Parsons Heritage High School - Saginaw Bryan Dietrich

Reeths-Puffer Rockets! Robbie Yaunke

Canton Chiefs!!!

Rebecca Ryver Kolbicz

West Ottawa panthers Carl Calabrese

Trenton Trojans! Jonathan Gallagher

Trenton Trojans!! Stoney Creek Cougars!

Mark Rushlow

Janice Batty Madek

Visit our Facebook page to try and win our next Warrior prize pack, facebook.com/mihockeynow 14

MiHockeyMag

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16

MiHockeyMag

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November 12, 2012 V.23 : I.5

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November 12, 2012 V.23 : I.5

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MiHockeyMag

17

YOU SHOULD KNOW

you should know

Photo courtesy of the NTDP

FAVORITE SPORTING EVENT:

My favorite sporting event is the Stanley Cup Final or any of the four Grand Slams (tennis).

MUST-SEE TV:

Tosh.O and The Amazing Race (I want to be on it one day).

FIRST CONCERT:

My first concert was Sweetlife Festival, which included artists/bands: Kid Cudi, FUN, and Avicii.

FAVORITE MOVIE: Dumb & Dumber

IF YOU COULD HAVE ONE WISH GRANTED, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH IT: I would wish that my relatives from Slovakia lived closer.

THREE PEOPLE YOU WOULD WANT TO HAVE DINNER WITH:

Mila Kunis, Will Ferrell, Stephen Hawking

NICKNAME:

Bondy or Bonds.

WHAT KIND OF CAR DO YOU DRIVE: Toyota Prius. Saving the world.

FAVORITE MEAL:

Sushi is my favorite type of food.

FAVORITE CHILDHOOD MEMORY:

Making it to Nationals, in Alaska, during my Pee-Wee Major year with the Washington Little Caps.

WHO WAS MOST INFLUENTIAL ON YOUR HOCKEY CAREER:

My father has taught me everything I know about the game. My mother also had a big impact by taking me to most of my games when I was younger.

David Bondra

Michigan State Freshman Forward

There’s another son of an NHL player to get to know in East Lansing. David Bondra, son of Peter Bondra, longtime Washington Capitals star, joined the Michigan State Spartans this fall. It’s the first time playing in Michigan for Bondra, yet he has one familiar face on campus; MSU assistant coach Kelly Miller played with the older Bondra for nine years in Washington. Yet David Bondra brings more than just a famous last name to the Spartans’ hockey program this year. The freshman forward recorded 22 goals and 41 assists for 63 points last year with the British Columbia Hockey League’s Chilliwack Chiefs.

Photos courtesy of: facebook.com (The Amazing Race), imdb.com (Dumb & Dumber), dosomething.org (Toyota Prius), , ticketfly.com (Sweetlife Festival), people.com (Mila Kunis)

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November 12, 2012 V.23 : I.5

Hockey Player Age Hometown Height Weight Team Position Coach School Grade Favorite Team Favorite Player

Niklas Miller

Hockey Player Age Hometown Height Weight Team Position Coach School Grade Favorite Team Favorite Player

Tyler Kostora

8 Howell 4'6" 85 lbs Compuware Center J Miller Hutchings Elementary 3rd Detroit Red Wings Henrik Zetterberg

7 Westland 4'3" 55 lbs. '05 Livonia Knights Forward/Wing John Kozar St. Matthew Luteran 2nd Detroit Red Wings Pavel Datsyuk

Make your player a "Star of Tomorrow" Every player appearing on Reebok's Stars of Tomorrow will win a new Reebok hockey stick! Go to MiHockeyNow.com and fill out the form on the 'Stars of Tomorrow' page. We will contact you about a photo to appear in the paper.

"STARS OF TOMORROW" c/o Michigan Hockey 'SFFXBZ1BSL%SJWF t 4VJUF Farmington Hills, MI 48335-2829 mh@mihockeynow.com

November 12, 2012 V.23 : I.5

MiHockeyNow.com

MiHockeyMag

19

The league of opportunity 2012 NAHL College Commitments - Michigan ROBBIE PAYNE Gaylord, MI

IAN MILLER Fraser, MI

COREY SCHUENEMAN Brighton, MI

TYLER MARBLE Howell, MI

8 1 , 2 5

Kalamazoo Jr. K Wings 2011-2013

Port Huron Fighting Falcons 2010-2013

Michigan Warriors 2012-2013

Soo Eagles 2012-2013

Northern Michigan University

Lake Superior State University

Western Michigan University

Lake Superior State University

For a list of more DI College Commitments, visit

NAHL.COM

Americaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Oldest and Largest Junior Hockey League

HOMETOWN O O HEROES O

NATH 22

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November 12, 2012 V.23 : I.5

NCAA TOTALS (BOSTON COLLEGE, 2005 – 2008)

128 71 GAMES

GOALS

62

ASSISTS

133 216

POINTS

PIM

62

74

NHL TOTALS

146 24 38 GAMES

GOALS

ASSISTS

POINTS

PIM

HAN AN GERBE November 12, 2012 V.23 : I.5

MiHockeyNow.com

MiHockeyMag

23

YOUTH HOCKEY

Local girls teams band together for

“PINK AT THE RINK” 2003 FARMINGTON HILLS FIRE WIN 2012 GREAT LAKES FALL SHOWDOWN SQUIRT A DIVISION Congratulations to the ’03 Farmington Fire squad, who won the Great Lakes Fall Showdown in Holland, Michigan, from Oct. 12-14.

BY NICK BARNOWSKI Most of the time, the only numbers that matter for a hockey game are the ones on the scoreboard. For the U16 Spartans, a girls travel hockey team based out of East Lansing, there was only one number that mattered on Oct. 27: $1,500. That’s how much money the team, in collaboration with the U16 Livonia Knights, raised for breast cancer awareness. The money from the first annual “Pink at the Rink” game will be split between the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation and the local American Cancer Society. In addition to the fundraiser, the two teams also took to the ice at Suburban East Lansing, where the Spartans defeated the Knights 5-2. “The Spartan family wanted to make an awareness statement during the month of October with the National Breast Cancer Awareness campaign,” team manager Jennifer Forrest said. “[The team did this] because some of the Spartan family knew some special people that have gone through breast cancer treatment of some sort.” In the weeks leading up to the game, the players on the Spartans sported shirts that said “Pink at the Rink” to practice every week. They also joined together with Elevation Hockey – a hockey training company based out of Suburban Ice East Lansing – whose members wore the pink shirts during team workouts. Before the game, the team set up multiple tables throughout the rink, where they took donations, sold baked goods,

and handed out pink cowbells and “Pink at the Rink” bracelets. “It was a very rewarding experience as we met local hockey moms that were also survivors and/or currently in treatment, and they shared with us their stories,” Forrest said. “The moments were very heartwarming for everyone.” For Kevin Miller, a former Michigan State hockey player and current U16 Spartans coach, the fundraiser showed the girls what it was like to participate in something impactful off the ice. “I’m sure they realize even more how important and how many lives breast cancer touches,” Miller said. “It is always nice to play a game with an extra cause and the breast cancer cause for a girls’ hockey game is even more special.” The Spartans donned custom-made pink jerseys for the game with the name “Didi” (an aunt of one of the team’s players) on the back to honor and celebrate her 10 years of being cancer-free. The Knights also wore custom black and pink jerseys for the occasion as well. “It was great to see all the teams and the community join in,” Miller said. “Again, everyone knows how important the cause is and were willing to pitch in.” Despite this being the first year the team has hosted the breast cancer campaign, Forrest says that as long as the Spartans are around, they will continue to fight for the cause. “It’s great for the girls to learn early that courage, strength, and passion can come not just from hockey.”

Have your team highlighted in MiHockeyMag and on MiHockeyNow. com this season! To see your team in print, contact MiHockey editor Michael Caples at mcaples@mihockeynow.com to tell MiHockey about your team, whether it be a big tournament win, a charity game, or simply how your team is doing this season.

24

MiHockeyMag

Front Row (left to right): Goalies Trevor Roy, Matthew Walla Second Row (kneeling, left to right): Brendan Farhat, Andrew Brining, Zac Holstad, Ben Godlewski, Jacob Bjertness Third Row (standing, left to right): Nicholas Chartrand, Zack Domanke, Joe Janda, Abby

Allen, Max Rallis, Griffin Layne, Jacob Nelson Fourth Row (left to right): Assistant Coach Tim Roy, Head Coach Dave Farhat, Assistant Coach Denny Behen, Assistant Coach Jim Allen Not pictured: CJ Fisher

GP BULLDOGS WIN BAUER AAA DIVISION BANTAM MAJOR CHAMPIONSHIP The 1998 Grosse Pointe Bulldogs won the AAA division Bantam Major championship at the Bauer World Invite Tournament in Chicago on Nov. 4. The 40-team field included the best Tier II, and some AAA teams, from around the United States and Canada. The Bulldogs went 6-1 during the three-day tournament to bring the hardware home to Michigan. The Bulldogs lost their only game of the tournament in an opening loss to the Aff ton Americans, 2-1. Knowing that another loss or a tie could spoil any chance of advancing to the quarterfinals, the Bulldogs won their next three round-robin games. In the second game, the Bulldogs overcame a 3-1 early first period deficit to defeat the Florida Jr. Panthers, 8-4. Next up, the Bulldogs played a very strong Soo Greyhounds AAA team, prevailing 3-1. The Bulldogs completed round-robin play with a 13-1 thrashing of the Houston Wild. On Sunday, the Bulldogs faced a familiar Yzerman foe, the Rochester Rattlers, in the quarterfinals.

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Regulation ended with the teams tied 1-1. After fighting off a 4-on-3 situation in the first overtime, the Bulldogs scored the winning goal with just 40 seconds left in the second overtime to advance to the semifinals to face the Toronto Aeros. There, the Bulldogs carried the play and won 2-1. In the championship game, the Bulldogs faced the Tampa Bay Scorpions, which upset St. Peters Selects, 4-2, in their semifinal game. The Bulldogs dominated the game from the start, racing to a 7-2 victory. The team shared the MVP award. The Bulldogs are, kneeling L-R: Sam Knoblauch, Alex Grimm, Gunner Markiewicz, Jack Flynn, Jonathan Theros, Jacob Robinson; standing, middle row, L-R: Zack Pearson, Andrew Tomasi, Marshall Vyletel, Griffin Brooks, CJ Ramsdell, Mac Cimmarrusti; back row, L-R; Tate MacDonald, Theo Calvas, Logan Jenuwine, Mac Welsher, Brandon VanOphem and Zack Kaiser. Coaches are L-R: Robb McIntyre, Geoff Welsher and Mark Brooks.

November 12, 2012 V.23 : I.5

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November 12, 2012 V.23 : I.5

GIFT GUIDE FOR

HockeyShot shooting pad

Players

Work on your game off the ice by using the HockeyShot shooting pad. Designed to feel like you’re stickhandling on ice, the shooting pad lets you keep working on your hands and your shot no matter where you are.

Warrior Covert DT1 Help the hockey player in your life reload in time for the playoffs. Warrior’s latest top-of-the-line stick offers the company’s latest in Dagger Taper Technology, producing consistent flex and a quick release.

RBZ 60 Stick Let’s face it, if the hockey player in your family knows how to fight for the puck in the corners, he or she might be due up for a new twig. The RBZ 60 is the latest from CCM, offering up the technology that made the RBZ a hit this summer, yet at a more friendly cost of only $120.

Bauer Premium 2-in-1 Top Look nobody wants to wear a neck guard, we get it. But if you have to wear one – which most of you do – you might as well wear the most comfortable one you can find. Bauer has new performance apparel with a neck guard built in, yet still adjustable. That means you don’t have to have it floating around and bothering you all game.

HockeyTUL Take some of the stress out of game day. With the HockeyTUL, mom and dad can be prepared for many of the disasters that can come before or during a game. The HockeyTUL gives you screwdrivers, scissors, skate repair tools and more, all in something you can keep in your pocket.

Hogan Hockey socks Even your base layer of clothing can serve as protection in today’s hockey world. A pair of Hogan Hockey socks can help you avoid nasty cuts from the opposition’s skates in areas left exposed. You can never be too careful.

The X-Saucer Work on that perfect saucer pass (that’s all the rage these days, right?) with the X-Saucer from XHockeyProducts. It’s got different levels of sauce to aim for, and you can set it up to catch passes – meaning you don’t have to have somebody else with you to practice one of hockey’s most crucial skills.

Lifestyle apparel If you really want to get the right gift for your hockey player this holiday season, get him or her something from a long list of lifestyle apparel companies. Gongshow Hockey and Sauce Hockey are the two most popular; you can’t go wrong with either.

Warrior mini sticks Use the Covert DT1 both on the ice and in the basement (or hallway, or living room, or hotel room, etc), with the new Covert mini stick from Warrior. Why use the classic cheapies that break when you put any flex on ‘em, when you could a “True 1” version of the Covert DT1 while playing hockey inside with your buddies.

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November 12, 2012 V.23 : I.5

Sweet Stick A Sweet Stick (or a comparable product) is a must-have for any hockey parent. Did your player forget to get his or her skates sharpened? We’ve all been there. Get some more life out of their most-important piece of equipment by fishing out your Sweet Stick and taking a couple passes on the skate blades.

FOR

Parents

iPad Mini A hockey parent needs some entertainment while their player is taking his or her time in the locker room after the game. An iPad Mini seems like the perfect solution. Plus, with most rinks in Michigan having free wi-fi, parents can actually stream the games to loved ones using FaceTime or Skype. I know we’re getting into a whole different language here, but perhaps the kids can show mom or dad how to let other families watch them play.

Bauer whistle

FOR

Coaches

A&R iPhone gloves There’s a pretty good chance that today’s hockey parent will have a smartphone or a tablet with them at the rink. Yet as we all know, the stands aren’t the warmest place in the world for hockey moms. Help them stay warm, and stay connected, with these gloves that will work with touch screens.

X-Targets Help your coach avoid a cranky team by giving them something to shoot at when the goalie isn’t available for practice. XHockeyProducts offers durable targets that you can easily assemble in any goal, and you can move them around. Perhaps a target right in the middle of the net so your players quit missing it entirely during the game? Just thinking out loud.

Puck Keeper bag

Get your favorite coach a new whistle (it might be getting a little funky already). However, we would advise giving it to them with a note that says you will not be participating in any Miraclelike skating situations.

SweetHands Stickhandling Hockey Trainer From HockeyShot.com comes the SweetHands Stickhandling Hockey Trainer. Coaches, give your players a new look to their stickhandling drills. A team that can control the puck makes for a happy coach, or so we’ve been told.

Cleaning up at the end of practice can be quite the chore. Get your coach a Puck Keeper bag, so that the kids can fire pucks into the bag, both working on their puck skills right until the Zamboni starts running people over, and making clean-up go a lot smoother.

Fathead posters Help your favorite hockey fan decorate his or her bedroom, basement, designated-hockey-watching-spot, or anywhere else with a Fathead. Easy to put up and easy to take down, Fatheads let you feel like Henrik Zetterberg is skating into your living room. Who wouldn’t want that? Plus, you can get custom-made Fatheads…sure would have liked that as a kid…hint hint.

NHL ’13

Zamboni Night Light For the little ones in your life (or the big ones still afraid of the dark), get them a night light they might actually think is cool. Like a Zamboni night light. I don’t think there’s a hockey fan out there that wouldn’t have wanted one of these growing up.

November 12, 2012 V.23 : I.5

FOR

Fans MiHockeyNow.com

Know somebody going through NHL hockey withdrawals? At least get them NHL ’13 on whatever video game system they have. That way they can feel like NHL hockey is still being played, even though it is…on hiatus.

MiHockeyMag

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Greater East Vice President Brandon Spedowski 989-486-1511 (h) 231-250-7031 (c) email: brandon.spedowski@gmail.com

Girls House Vice President Dina Howe 989-429-2653 (c) 989-435-7080 (w) email: dhowe@howeracing.com

Metro Vice President Bobby Mitchell 313-806-8668 email: adraymetro@comcast.com

Greater West Vice President Kevin Wood 616-560-6503 email: kwoodadraywest@yahoo.com

Treasurer/League Development Joe Spedowski 231-796-2565 email: nancyjoe@netonecom.net

November 12, 2012 V.23 : I.5

adrayhockey.org President Jeff Spedowski 231-796-0728 (h) 231-629-0435 (c) email: jspedows@charter.net

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Database Specialist Vice President Steve Miller 616-250-1458 email: me@stevenmiller.info

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ACHA HOCKEY JUNIORS PREVIEW Photo courtesy of Crystal Zhang

WAYNE STATE’S INAUGURAL CLUB HOCKEY SEASON ‘GOING WELL’

BY MATT MACKINDER

A

fter Wayne State University’s men’s Division I team folded in 2008 and its women’s team in 2011, many wondered when hockey would once again be part of the school’s extracurricular activities. With the addition of club hockey at the ACHA Division III level, men’s hockey returned to the ice this season under coach Frank DiCristofaro, a one-time member of the WSU men’s D-I team during its early years. DiCristofaro spent the summer recruiting players and marketing the team and, thus far, has been pleased with the results on and off the ice. Going into this weekend, the Warriors are 5-4-0-2. “The season has been going well,” said DiCristofaro, who has coaching experience at the high school level with St. Clair Shores Unified. “We have had some pleasant surprises and have also learned some lessons about what it takes to win at this level.” And while DiCristofaro said it’s hard to single out certain players for what they’ve been able to accomplish so far, he did say forward Bill Coole has performed well, as have defensemen Rob Adam and Stefen DesJardins. “We have had many players take several roles, but I think there are always going to be those key roles that certain players fall into,” DiCristofaro said. “I think that Bill

(Coole) has fit the bill nicely as the type of everyday player we want. He works hard at every aspect of his game and two weeks ago against Notre Dame, he had with four goals on Saturday and several key assists on Sunday. “As a staff, we have also been pleased with our play on the back end. Rob (Adam) and Stefen (DesJardins) have been stalwarts for our defense and are consistently plus players on the ice. One of our biggest strengths right now would be our goaltending and defense. We have three very capable goaltenders – Jacob Buscemi, Max Cookinham and Trevor Sattelmeier – and a defensive core that consistently limits offensive chances for our opponents.” Consistency is an aspect DiCristofaro is working to get up to speed. “At this point, we need to work on consistency with the power play,” he said. “We have had to do some shuffling to get some flow, so we will see where it takes us.” Away from the City Sports Center, the Wayne State campus has been on board with the Warriors, a program that will make the jump to ACHA Division I next season. “Everyone has been great,” said DiCristofaro. “We get great support from administration as we are attempting to build a solid fan base. We had a breast cancer fundraiser game in October that was very successful with the student body and are planning a teddy bear toss game around

Christmastime to benefit select children’s foundations. We are very thankful for the support to this point.” That said, there are still multiple challenges ahead to keep the hockey program sustainable and viable, but in DiCristofaro’s mind, the hard work is already in the past. “One of the biggest challenges in starting this program was completing the comprehensive risk management steps that were provided by the university,” explained DiCristofaro. “However, once a framework is in place, all it takes is year-to-year tweaking. I think that sustainability of this program will always be a goal. Right now, we are very optimistic, especially since we were recently approved to play ACHA D-I starting next season.” Needless to say, there are many positive vibes in Hockeytown, with or without the Red Wings, that give WSU reason to believe in the future of the ACHA program. “I think the future is very bright,” DiCristofaro said. “I have already had several contacts from different junior teams about potential players. I think where we may have an advantage is that we are one of the most affordable schools in the Midwest with over 370 degree programs. “If you couple that with a quality hockey product that we are putting on the ice, it’s a recipe for success, in my opinion.” WSU is next on home ice Nov. 17 against Oakland University at 4 p.m.

Rochester College joining ACHA ranks in 2013 Rochester College will be the next Detroit-area school to put an ACHA team on the ice at the Troy Sports Center as the school is set to go for the fall of 2013 at the Division I level. Nick Tomczyk, who has been the associate head coach at cross-town Oakland University the past two season, will serve as the Warriors’ first head coach. Longtime Michigan youth and high school coach Ken Bernock will be RC’s assistant coach. “(Getting approved for D-I status) is a fantastic accomplishment for Rochester College,” said Tomczyk. “The staff has been working very hard and that hard work is paying off. Playing Division I hockey was one of our primary goals, so this approval means a tremendous amount to the college and all

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of us on staff. This will no doubt attract top-end players looking to compete at the collegiate level.” “Having the opportunity to partner with someone of coach Tomczyk’s hockey pedigree, enthusiasm and character was completely unexpected and Nick’s presence is a gamechanger for this program,” said RC director of operations Scott Cagnet. “He comes from a premier ACHA D-I program that competes for national championships each year and his presence will accelerate the growth and reach of RC hockey immediately. I can’t imagine a better fit and am fortunate to have the opportunity to work through the development and establishment of this program with him.”

November 12, 2012 V.23 : I.5

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JUNIORS PREVIEW NCAA HOCKEY

TREAIS STARTS SEASON OFF

WITH A BANG Development Program in Ann Arbor, leads the CCHA in goals with seven. He’s also tied for second in overall scoring, with 10 points. Perhaps his most impressive night of the young season came on Nov. 3 in Marquette, where Treais scored the game-tying goal with .6 seconds remaining in regulation. Treais then scored the decisive goal in the shootout minutes later – the second straight season he clinched a shootout victory in that city. It’s nothing new for Treais, though. He’s been scoring goals at the right time since he moved from The Cube to Yost. Last year he scored the game-winner against Boston College at the Great Lakes Invitational, the game-winner at Notre Dame on Jan. 21, and a second extra-time goal against Northern. And as a sophomore, he scored the game-winners in both games of the Great Lakes Invitational. Yet Treais is scoring at a pace he hasn’t come close to matching in his previous seasons. Last year, he set career totals of 15 goals and 32 points in 40 games. With seven goals in as many games this season, it’s safe to expect that if Treais stays healthy, he will graduate from the University of Michigan with some very impressive senior totals.

BY MICHAEL CAPLES After the Wolverines’ 6-3 win against Bentley on Oct. 19, Red Berenson was asked about A.J. Treais, and his ability to routinely score goals in crucial moments of games. “Good for A.J.,” Berenson said at the time. “He just seems to have that attitude about him. When things don’t go well, he’s the guy that bounces us right back into it, scores the big goal or makes the big play. He’s playing like a man possessed, and good for him.” On Oct. 27, after Treais had scored twice for his Wolverines - game-tying and go-ahead goals - in a heated battle with Miami, the UM captain said he’s been getting lucky. “I’ve kind of taken it upon myself the last few games (to score) and gotten lucky on a few shots,” Treais said. “But as a captain, you want to step up for your team. Everyone would want to score that goal.” The statistics would read otherwise, however. Treais, a Bloomfield Hills native and alum of the National Team

MICHIGAN NATIVES BARBER, CZARNIK

HONORED FOR OUTSTANDING OCTOBER PLAY BY MICHAEL CAPLES It was quite an opening month of college hockey for two Michigan natives playing for Miami University, and they received plenty of accolades because of it. Freshman forward and Livonia native Riley Barber’s eight points in October earned him both CCHA and national recognition. Barber was named the national rookie of the month by the Hockey Commissioners Association and the league rookie of the month by the CCHA. Meanwhile,

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his teammate, Austin Czarnik, a sophomore forward and Washington native, was named CCHA player of the month after posting the same amount of points. The two players tied for the top spot in league scoring at the conclusion of October. Barber, a 5-foot-11, 185-pound forward, has totaled four goals and four assists in the same time frame. He’s a sixthround pick of the Washington Capitals from last summer’s NHL Entry Draft. Barber scored his first collegiate goal on Oct. 13 against Colgate – a power-play marker – and scored on both nights of the RedHawks’ series with Providence on Oct. 19-20. Plus, he recorded a goal and an assist in the RedHawks’ road win over Michigan on Oct. 27. Prior to joining Miami, Barber played a season for the U.S. National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor. He recorded 11 points in 24 USHL games with the NTDP. In 2010-11, Barber skated for the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the USHL, where he posted 28 points in 57 games. Barber grew up in the Compuware AAA organization, playing many years with fellow top NHL prospects Jacob Trouba (Winnipeg), Patrick Sieloff (Calgary), and Brady Vail (Montreal). Honorable mentions for the Gongshow Rookie of the Month honors went to Alaska defenseman Josh Atkinson, Bowling Green goaltender Tommy Burke, Michigan defenseman Jacob Trouba and Ohio State goaltender Collin Olson. Czarnik, a 5-foot-9, 160-pound forward, has recorded three goals and five assists in a month where the RedHawks posted a 4-1-1 record. His five assists are the

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most in the CCHA. The Washington native has had a point in five of his six games, and he currently holds a plus-six rating. Czarnik has demonstrated strong play at both ends of the ice, having recorded 23 shots, while blocking nine. The sophomore at Miami is also a NTDP alum, having played there from 2008-10. In 2010-11, he played one season with the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL, where he totaled 34 points. Last year, as a freshman, Czarnik made the CCHA all-rookie team after notching 37 points – a league high for first-year players. Honorable mentions for CCHA Player of the Month honors went to Alaska junior forward Cody Kunyk, Ferris State senior forward Kyle Bonis, Lake Superior junior defenseman Zach Sternberg, Michigan’s Treais and Western Michigan junior defenseman Dan DeKeyser.

November 12, 2012 V.23 : I.5

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PLYMOUTH WHALERS

LEVI BACK WITH WHALERS FOR FIFTH OHL SEASON

BY MATT MACKINDER

The NHL lockout has in an odd way been a blessing in disguise for the Plymouth Whalers. After defenseman Austin Levi signed an entry-level contract last spring with the Carolina Hurricanes, he was planning on playing this year in the American Hockey League and angling for a chance to perhaps play in the NHL as quickly as possible. The lockout means a slew of NHL-caliber players are playing in the minors this season, taking away spots from potential prospects – Levi included. Just after the Ontario Hockey League season started, the Hurricanes re-assigned Levi to the Whalers, something the 20-year-old said was initially a disappointment. “Carolina told me I needed one more year of development in juniors and I see it as a win-win situation,” said Levi. “If there was ever a junior team I’d be happy to come back to, it’s here in Plymouth. When I knew what type of team I’d be coming back to with a lot of guys back from last year, the disappointment subsided and I got really excited.” When asked if the lockout had anything to do with him being back in the OHL for his fifth season, Levi was blunt. “I’d like to think so,” he said. “The lockout has been tough on everyone. I figured I’d be in Charlotte right now, but that’s not happening. I just hope the NHL gets something done soon and they can get some games in this season. It’s hard to say what will happen, though.” This past summer, it was hard to digest what happened in a Colorado movie theater in Levi’s hometown of Aurora. On that fateful night, a sick-minded individual opened fire during the opening of “The Dark Knight Rises,” killing and wounding dozens of people, including children. “I’ve been to that theater so many times when I was in Colorado until I was 10,” Levi said. “Thankfully, no one I knew was there that night, but nothing like that ever happens in Aurora. I was too little to remember the Columbine shooting (in 1999), but when the Aurora tragedy happened, I called and texted pretty much

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everyone I knew back home and luckily, they were all OK. Just a very scary time, for sure.” Back when Plymouth drafted Levi in the sixth round of the 2008 OHL draft out of the Compuware U16s, the Colorado native came into the league knowing he would be scouted on a nightly basis by NHL brass. He improved his overall game and the Hurricanes tabbed him in the third round in 2010. Now with an NHL contract signed, sealed and delivered, Levi wants just one more item to tack onto his resume. “This season, I’m playing for a championship,” said Levi. “For (Plymouth captain) Colin MacDonald, Alex Aleardi (another five-year player with previous stops in Kitchener and Belleville) and myself, this is our last year in the league and we want to go out with a championship. We know what it takes and we will continue to do whatever it takes to go as far as we can.” Currently in a third-place tie in the West Division, but just two points behind first-place Sarnia, the Whalers have been a roller coaster-type team thus far through the first quarter of the season. “We have not played to our full potential yet and the Plymouth team you have seen so far is not the team you will see in the middle and end of the season,” said Levi. “Moving forward, I know we’ll be changing some things, but you have not yet seen the team we are capable of having.” If 2008 seems like a long time ago, it was. Levi has spent five of his 20 years on the planet playing in the OHL. In his eyes, he would do it again in a heartbeat. “The OHL has been a great experience and I have made friends with guys who are in the NHL that I will be friends with for the rest of my life,” said Levi. “And to play for a coach like Mike (Vellucci), it’s easy to see why his teams are so successful each and every year. He knows how to push his players, but to push them the right way. I think I have matured a lot since I was 16 and I owe a lot of that to Mike.”

MiHockeyNow.com

WHALERS NOTEBOOK Zach Bratina, the team’s first-round pick from April’s OHL draft, scored his first career goal in the Whalers 7-5 loss Nov. 3 at home to Sarnia … Plymouth forward Tom Wilson has been selected to play for the OHL in the 2012 Subway Super Series, a six-game series of games featuring Canadian Hockey League all-star teams against Team Russia. Each league in the CHL will play in two games each against Russia, with each league selecting a team that will play two games in the series. Wilson will play on Monday, Nov. 12, in Sarnia at RBC Centre … MacDonald, Curtis Crombeen, Nick Malysa and Michael Whaley are leading Plymouth’s Movember campaign, designed to raise awareness towards men’s health issues. Visit http://us.movember.com/team/725617 for more information or to make a donation.

Photos courtesy of OHL Images

November 12, 2012 V.23 : I.5

GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS

FINDING HIS ‘SEA’ LEGS IN GRAND RAPIDS

BY KYLE KUJAWA

T

o say that Grand Rapids Griffins forward Tomas Jurco had a successful junior career would be a massive understatement. From a statistical standpoint, Jurco flourished. He scored over 25 goals in all three of his seasons with the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs and went off for 97 combined points between the regular season (30-38—68 in 48 games) and postseason (13-16—29 in 16 games) in 2011-12. But when most fans talk about the Sea Dogs, it’s not Jurco’s performance they rave about. Even his 29 points in 16 postseason games, nearly two points per game, were only good for fourth on the team. The Sea Dogs were one of the most dominant clubs in major junior history while Jurco was there, capturing the QMJHL’s President’s Cup in back-to-back seasons while appearing in the league finals in three consecutive years, and winning the CHL’s Memorial Cup in 2011 as the top junior team in Canada. The club was 161-34-2-7 during Jurco’s career, winning 81.1 percent of its games. But it wasn’t the winning that prepared Jurco for the professional ranks, it was the competition.

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“It helped me because I was always fighting for ice time,” said Jurco. “There were a lot of good players and high draft picks. It taught me that you have to be really good every game to play first line or on the power play.” Generally, every junior team has a handful of NHL drafted players who play big minutes. Jurco certainly had a big role on the club, but the Sea Dogs had other options all throughout the lineup. That includes Jonathan Huberdeau, the third overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, and a trio of other first round picks who, like Jurco, find themselves transitioning to the AHL this season: Nathan Beaulieu (Hamilton), Charlie Coyle (Houston) and Zach Phillips (Houston). “For sure, winning the Memorial Cup was the highlight,” said Jurco. “The whole tournament was great. I was playing great after a not-so-great season. I scored some really important goals, so it was really good for me.” Getting to the Memorial Cup is no easy task. In the QMJHL, just like the NHL, it takes 16 wins to capture the league’s championship trophy. The Memorial Cup then pits the champion of the QMJHL, WHL and OHL along with a host team that rotates through the leagues, forcing junior clubs to prepare for teams they would never play otherwise. Jurco’s Sea Dogs won the Memorial Cup in 2011 but fell short the following year. “It didn’t bother me that much because we won already,” said the Kosice, Slovakia, native. “I knew what it felt like. Of course I was sad and it was hard to get over, but it would have been way worse if we lost both years. At least we won it before.” Jurco hopes the challenges of finding ice time on his junior club will prepare him for the professional ranks. Despite being a high draft pick himself, 35th overall by Detroit in 2011, he is in a familiar situation with the Griffins, as he’s behind other high picks on the depth chart, many of whom have had several years of AHL seasoning already. “I’m looking to find a spot on the power play in a short period of time,” he said. “I just need to earn [head coach Jeff ] Blashill’s trust some more. Hopefully, he’ll see what I do on the ice and how I play and trust me to go on the power play and score some goals. “It’s getting better each game,” he continued. “Each

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day I’m more and more confident. [Turning professional] is a real big step to make, but I’m going to get used to it more and get better every day.” Most Detroit Red Wings fans became familiar with Jurco when a video of him stickhandling off the ice surfaced after he was drafted. It was even shown during the Griffins’ TV broadcast on Fox Sports Detroit on Oct. 26. But Jurco knows his special skill isn’t what will help him in the pros the way developing into a two-way player will. “I just want to be even all-around, not just stickhandling,” said Jurco. “I’m trying to work on my defensive game, and I think I’m getting better at it, like being in a good spot and not leaving anyone open.” Although he was flattered by the attention the video got, he says he’s glad that his new Griffins teammates haven’t brought up his YouTube fame too much yet. “Younger guys watch it, so it’s more in junior,” Jurco said. “Maybe only a couple here have seen it, maybe nobody. I’m fine with them not knowing. Hopefully, I’ll make some new highlights on the ice.”

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JUNIORS PREVIEW RED WINGS INSIDER

WINTER CLASSIC CANCELLATION A CRUSHING BLOW TO DETROIT, AND TO THE PLAYERS AS WELL BY DAVE WADDELL

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he National Hockey League executed the classic kill Nov. 2, ensuring a winter of discontent among Detroit Red Wing and Toronto Maple Leaf fans. In a short written statement announcing the cancellation of the Winter Classic, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly removed any doubt the game schedule for Jan. 1 at Michigan Stadium between Toronto and Detroit could serve as leverage to jumpstart the talks to end the league’s lockout of its players. A record-crowd for a hockey game of at least 115,000 was expected for the contest. It would also have been the first Winter Classic to feature a Canadian team since the event’s inception in 2008. “The logistical demands for staging events of this magnitude made today’s decision unavoidable. We simply are out of time,” said NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly in a written statement. “We are extremely disappointed, for our fans and for all those affected, to have to cancel the Winter Classic and Hockeytown Winter Festival events. “We look forward to bringing the next Winter Classic and the Hockeytown Winter Festival to Michigan.” Those holding tickets can either keep them to use for the next Classic or opt for a refund. Refund information can be found at nhl.com/winterclassicrefund. The decision to postpone the popular event came because a payment of $250,000 was due to the University of Michigan Nov. 2 if the game was to be held. The school will still pocket $100,000 despite the cancellation. The reaction to the NHL’s announcement was predictable in the Detroit area. There were mountains of abuse from players, fans and even a radio campaign belittling NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. “It’s surprising people actually have the courage to cancel something like that when so much relies upon it and so many people are looking forward to it,” Wings’ defenseman Ian White said. “I think to this point, we’ve already had some damage that won’t be able to be undone to our sport. They just continue to pile it on. “It actually embarrasses me as a player. You go out in public; people view us differently from this. “The NHL just continues along this path.” For veterans like Todd Bertuzzi, the loss of the NHL’s marquee regular-season event is particularly

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Photo by Michael Caples/MiHockey disappointing. With both sides looking like they’re prepared to go nuclear in this dispute, the clock is working against players in the twilight years of their careers. The 2004-05 lockout saw 200 NHL players, who had played in the league prior to the stoppage, not return once the action resumed. “I’ve always wanted to play in one,” Bertuzzi said. “Talking with guys on the Red Wings, all the guys when they played in Chicago said it was an outstanding atmosphere, and for family, too. “I have kids that can appreciate something like that and be able to be a part of it, plus we had a lot of family and friends from Kitchener who were coming up. We booked hotels, so a little bit of a downer.’’ It was even more personally disappointing for Bertuzzi than most players. The event had turned out to be more than just a spectator event for his family. “I think the whole thing is tough for everyone,” Bertuzzi said. “My kid’s team was playing at Comerica, the alumni game was going to be superb with the amount of talent both teams had. I think it’s a big loss.” However, the big loser, in the short term, is the area economy. The league estimated the Classic, along with its twoweeks of support events, would have generated in excess of $75-million in economic activity. In addition to the Winter Classic game, an ambitious Hockeytown Winter Fest was scheduled to start Dec. 15 in downtown Detroit. That too has been killed off. A second outdoor rink would have been set up at Comerica Park to host several games. Among the event’s schedules were two Leafs-Wings

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alumni contests, an AHL game between NHL teams’ farm clubs, the Great Lakes Invitational college tournament, an OHL doubleheader along with some high school games. Detroit winger Johan Franzen, though disappointed at the Classic’s cancellation, tried to keep things in perspective. “Losing a season is more disappointing than losing a game,” Franzen said. The only bright spot in Daly’s announcement is that the massive cash injection into the Michigan economy is merely postponed and not lost entirely. The same optimism cannot be shared about the prospects of salvaging the season at this point. “It’s definitely starting to get that feel,” said White comparing the events so far to the last lockout. “I started to get that feeling a little while ago when they took a look at our proposals for a few minutes and just brushed them aside without any considerations. They seem to really enjoy being the hard-line guys. “There’s not a whole lot of give and take it seems. It’s starting to feel like ‘04 and it’s a bad feeling.’’ However, White and his teammates aren’t quite ready to give up hope quite yet. The last time around, the decision to cancel the entire season didn’t come until mid-January. “I think every game that’s canceled, it increases the chances, especially a big event like this,” White said. “I’m still optimistic. “It kind of feels like they’re following the same playbook as the NBA, the same time line with laying out different proposals. Fortunately the NBA got a season in. “Unfortunately, it took them that long to do it. If there’s any optimism for us, it seems to be going the same strides as the NBA.”

November 12, 2012 V.23 : I.5

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JUNIORS THE PREVIEW LAST LINE

MEMORIES OF NEW PADS, WATCHING THE GREAT ONE COME TO MIND EVERY HOLIDAY SEASON @Darren_Eliot

BY DARREN ELIOT

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f you’re a hockey parent, you may feel that the Holiday Gift Guide applies year round. I know the days of waiting for new equipment or cool apparel have long since passed in our household. Like most of you, I suspect, if the stick breaks now (of course the fancy one-

piece composite snaps in half 5-10 days past the woefully inadequate 30-day warranty coverage), the replacement is purchased immediately. Still, in the spirit of holiday giving, there remains a special feeling attached to seeing the expression of delight and gratitude when brand-new gear is involved. I know for me, my most vivid holiday memory was when I got my first set of “real” goalie equipment. My mom and dad hid the pads and gloves behind the couch and waited until the very end of the early morning present opening session to unveil the goalie gear. I was 8 years old at the time and not sure I hid my disappointment in not seeing any goalie equipment under the very garish silver-shimmery artificial tree. I was holding Santa responsible. I mean, I wrote him personally. Didn’t he know that I couldn’t play “organized hockey” without real gear? Don’t get me wrong, I was thankful for the board games and new clothes and all, but… Then my dad stood up and said, “What’s this? Looks like we missed a couple of things that Santa left.” There they were: brand-new Cooper pads. They looked just like the one’s my idol Roger Crozier wore – at least to my eye. The gloves were Cooper too. The blocker had blue felt on the front instead of the leather “waffle board” that the pros used and my catcher was more like a mitten than a glove. In the moment and for the next couple of years, it didn’t matter. I was now a goalie because I had my own “real” gear. As I hurriedly strapped on the pads over my pj’s, my dad laid down the law, “No wearing them in the street or on the driveway. You can only wear that stuff on the school rink.” Somehow, the tone of my dad’s voice and the conditions set down gave me an inkling that Santa had very little to do with my wish coming Years later, Eliot would still be wearing Cooper pads, just like his first set

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true. The rules didn’t bother me - they made those pads and gloves all the more special: Rules? These pads and gloves must be special! The other special thing about the holiday season is the quality of tournament competition. My favorite was the Golden Horseshoe Tournament in Burlington, Ontario. That’s where I lived and before I ever played on a team, I went to the tournament with my Dad. One year we billeted two players from Winnipeg, so we were at old Central Arena a lot. I had just turned 10 and playing my first year of organized house league hockey. These guys were way older than me – at least 12 or 13 years old. I watched their games and those of a kid my age named Gretzky. It was one thing to watch kids you kind of knew who were a few years older than you. It was another thing to watch a player your age who everyone knew about. Gretzky played for Brantford – a town about 45 minutes from Burlington – and the arena was packed for each of his games. I watched in amazement as this kid controlled the game, never coming off the ice – taking shifts on defense if he needed a breather. That year Gretzky scored nine goals and had three assists in a 12-3 win. He literally played keep-away one shift while killing a penalty, just skating all over the ice, with no one able to corral him. A couple of years later, I was on the Burlington Roadrunners travel team and Brantford was part of our league. Gretzky still did all the scoring – although teammates Greg Stefan and Len Hachborn both had fine pro careers –but our team at that age could beat Brantford. I moved away to Oshawa the next year, but finally got to play in the Golden Horseshoe Tournament as part of the Parkway TV Midget team in 1977. Being back in Central Arena as an “out of towner” brought back a lot of memories. In the end, that’s what the holiday season is all about – the making of long-lasting memories. The Golden Horseshoe tournament is in its 45 year and I know group of eight year olds who play for Honeybaked are headed there this Holiday Season to make memories of their own. And maybe – even in this replace-it-rightnow era - a couple of them will be sporting a special something that Santa left behind the couch.

November 12, 2012 V.23 : I.5

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MiHockeyMag - November 12, 2012