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MiHockeyNow.com

V.23 : I.15 | APRIL 8, 2013

FIRST CLASS

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

APRIL 8, 2013 VOLUME 23: ISSUE 15 6 THE LOCKER ROOM Talking hockey on social media

8 SLIDESHOW Hockey pictures from across the Mitten

10 GET BETTER Check out a new ADM-approved drill from USA Hockeyl

12 YOU SHOULD KNOW Lumberjacks defenseman Ben Storm

14 YOUTH HOCKEY New state champions are crowned

20 MWJHL Hartland Hounds capture ďŹ rst league title

22 NAHL The NAHL playoffs begin

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24 JUNIORS

STATE CHAMPS

Sean Day cleared for OHL a year early

Time to celebrate another crop of youth state champions 28 PLYMOUTH WHALERS The Whalers are ready for a playoff push

30

GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS

Calle Jarnkrok comes to Grand Rapids

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32

DETROIT RED WINGS

Dan DeKeyser chooses his hometown team

34

LOOK FOR OUR NEXT ISSUE LAST LINE

When Times Change (saying goodbye to the CCHA)

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APRIL 29, 2013

To advertise in MiHockey please contact Lucia Zuzga at (248) 479-1134 or lucia@mihockeynow.com, or Michael Peck at (248) 479-1146 or mpeck@mihockeynow.com

April 8, 2013 V.23 : I.15


FROM THE EDITOR MIHOCKEYMAG EDITOR Michael Caples

mcaples@mihockeynow.com

ADVERTISING & DISTRIBUTION Lucia Zuzga lucia@mihockeynow.com

Michael Peck

mpeck@mihockeynow.com

DESIGN Emily Huston Chuck Stevens CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Darren Eliot Pat Evans 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: mh@mihockeynow.com WEBSITE: mihockeynow.com

PHOTOS AT LEFT: Oakland Grizzlies (Michael Caples/MiHockey), Calle Jarnkrok (Jan Buler/ Brynas IF), Dan DeKeyser (Michael Caples/ MiHockey) COVER: Design by Emily Huston/MiHockey, photo by Michael Caples/MiHockey

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

April 8, 2013 V.23 : I.15

TIME FOR SPRING, TIME FOR CHANGE It’s almost time to wrap up another a hockey season. Can you believe it’s already April? It feels as though we were just working on our high school hockey preview last week. But all of a sudden, the fall hockey season has come to a close for all of our youth teams (except for the ones competing at the USA Hockey national tournaments) and all of our college teams. The Griffins are still playing. The Whalers are still playing. The Lumberjacks are still playing. And the Red Wings are still playing (with their schedule even bumped back a bit because of the lockout). But the college teams are all done, and earlier than they should be. I blame that – the fact that this is the first year since 1979 that no Michigan schools have advance to the NCAA Tournament – on why my internal clock seems slightly off. It seemed like all the cards fell into the right places for this college hockey season. The final year of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association would feature some rosters heavy on talent, both inside the state and out. I thought there was a legitimate chance that the MiHockey staff would be caravanning out to Pittsburgh for the Frozen Four, to see one of our schools compete for a national championship. Don’t think I have to tell you how it actually turned out. The Wolverines almost saved their streak – and the state’s streak – of NCAA appearances. Had one

MiHockeyNow.com

or two bounces went a different way in the final CCHA Championship at Joe Louis Arena, Jacob Trouba could possibly be making travel plans to Pittsburgh right now, not to Winnipeg (and on that note, I wish him the best of luck moving forward). Instead, we have nose-dived into the first summer without the CCHA in a very, very long time. I don’t have room on this page to voice all my feelings about the changes coming to college hockey – I’ll save that for a later date – but I do have to say that I’m excited to see what the changes will bring. I think the beginning of Big Ten Hockey will be good for the sport, as long as the other programs in our state can also thrive in their new leagues. Only time will tell how if both of those things come to fruition. I look forward to seeing where college hockey goes from here. I hope you do, as well. And hopefully, by the time we begin working on the next issue of MiHockeyMag, we will be celebrating not youth hockey state champions, but youth hockey national champions. There’s no reason to expect anything less – after all, there is no better place to learn the game than right here in Michigan. See you around the rink,

MiHockeyMag

5


THE LOCKER ROOM

THE

LOCKERROOM

TWO FOR TWEETING

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: San Jose star Logan Couture was embarrassed by Pavel Datsyuk in a recent Red Wings vs. Sharks game in California, but even he appreciates the skill displayed by the Wings’ No. 13. We love when people share pictures with us via social media – especially when they are toe saves by Petr Mrazek during a shootout. Congrats to Farmington Hills native Alex Aleardi on his first pro goal. It’s a whole lot easier to cover all the Michigan connections when our friends are keeping their eyes out for MiHockey news. Well we had to put one of our Dan DeKeyser tweets in here – after all, a whole lot of social media attention was given to the Clay Township native while he was making his choice to join the Red Wings. Happy 85th, Mr. Hockey.

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April 8, 2013 V.23 : I.15


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SLIDESHOW

MICHIGAN HOCKEY IN PICTURES:

PHOTOS FROM ACROSS THE MITTEN

FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM: @MIHOCKEYNOW

Novi native Bryan Rust helped lead the Fighting Irish to the last-ever CCHA title. (Andrew Knapik/MiHockey)

Congrats to Livonia native Riley Barber for winning the CCHA Rookie of the Year award. (Michael Caples/MiHockey)

Jakub Kindl leads Dan DeKeyser through drills at his first Red Wings practice. (Michael Caples/MiHockey)

Gordie Howe smiles for a photo during his 85th birthday celebration at Joe Louis Arena. (Michael Caples/MiHockey)

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MiHockeyMag

Our first photo of Dan DeKeyser wearing the Winged Wheel. (Michael Caples/MiHockey)

Notre Dame celebrates their historic CCHA championship victory. (Andrew Knapik/MiHockey)

Joe Louis Arena during the third period of the final CCHA game in league history. (Michael Caples/MiHockey)

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April 8, 2013 V.23 : I.15


Kim Muir’s Power Skating Hockey School $003%*/"5*0/t45011*/(t#"-"/$&t&%(&4t.0.&/56.t563/*/(t"(*-*5:t41&&%t$3&"5*7*5: I have worked with many students from or with the following organizations, to name a few: NHL (Red Wings & Hurricanes), OHL, HE, MAC, CCHA, WCHA, MAHA AAA, and many more. My summer program is approximately 7 weeks long, starting June 17 - August 1. You skate twice a week, one and a half hours each day, (half hour stick-handling with my instructors and an hour power-skating with my instructors and I) on Mon & Wed or Tues & Thurs. $550 per student. No classes Wed 7/3 or Thurs 7/4. $100 deposit holds a spot! SESSION 1 JUNE 17 - JULY 31 ARCTIC POND

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Mail Registration and $100.00 deposit to: “Can’t Skate, Can’t Playâ€?, Inc. ATTN: DEBBIE JEWITT 40475 Plymouth Rd., Plymouth, MI 48170 *GZPVIBWFRVFTUJPOT QMFBTFDBMM%FCCJF+F8JUU  PS,JN.VJS  LNVJS!IPUNBJMDPNtXXXDBOUTLBUFDBOUQMBZDPN Full refunds if cancelled by June 10, 2013. 50% refund, if your child is not a TRAVEL player for the Travel classes, by the ďŹ rst skate, without permission of “Can’t Skate, Can’t Playâ€?, Inc. If “Travel teamâ€? isn’t listed, you’ll be placed on a waiting list or in the House program. Final class placement is at the discretion of Kim Muir.


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ATTACK SKILLS DRILL AGE-APPROPRIATE DRILL OF THE MONTH: 12U

DRILL OBJECTIVE:

Developing individual attack skills, fakes and tight turns (escapes) as well as puck support skills, pivoting to face pack and widening out with eye contact and stick position. DRILL MECHANICS: O1 widens out, and makes eye contact with O2 for a pass. O1 drives to the hash marks and tight turn (escapes to the boards). O1 passes back to O2. O1 then moves back to the blueline and pivots facing O2 for a return pass. O1 now attacks the coach with an exaggerated fake and quick shot on goal. Once O2 passes to the pivoting O1, O2 starts the next repetition. COACHING POINTS: Watch that the players do not cross their hands on the tight turns. Out of the turns and pivots the players should accelerate ďŹ rst few steps. Players need to pass the puck hard and really sell that fake on the coach. Also make eye contact with passer and have stick blade on the ice to show the passer a good target. EQUIPMENT: 1 Net COMMENTS: This drill is best performed in smaller groups of 5 or 6 players so that the repetitions are kept high and the down time is at a minimum. It is also necessary to repeat the drill on the opposite side of the ice so that the players are turning and pivoting the both directions.

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

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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

April 8, 2013 V.23 : I.15


FERRIS STATE UNIVERSITY "The Original"

er team $288 p Goalies $ 40

Jacob Trouba signs entry-level contract with Winnipeg

APRIL 12-14, 2013  <RXQJHU0LQL0LWHVÂ&#x2021; <RXQJHU0LWHKRXVH %  $GXOW2SHQÂ&#x2021;$GXOWÂł%´Â&#x2021;$GXOW 8S2SHQ $GXOW 8SÂł%´Â&#x2021;$GXOW 8S2SHQÂ&#x2021;$GXOW 8SÂł%´ :RPHQÂśV 8S 2SHQ +LJKHU6NLOO  % 5HF3OD\HUV 

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BY MICHAEL CAPLES

O

n April 3, the Winnipeg Jets officially announced that they signed Jacob Trouba to an entry-level contract. With the signing, Trouba, the clubâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ďŹ rst-round pick (ninth overall) in the 2012 NHL Draft, ended his collegiate career after a single season with the Michigan Wolverines. During a press conference a few days after the Wolverinesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; season concluded, Trouba said he had a great experience in Ann Arbor. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Being here has been probably one of the most fun years Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve ever had playing hockey on and off the ice,â&#x20AC;? Trouba said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is a lot of fun and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a hard place to leave. Getting my education is something I want to do and another year towards that would be a big step.â&#x20AC;? Trouba, a Rochester native, was named the Central Collegiate Hockey Associationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best offensive defenseman after recording 12 goals and 15 assists for 27 points in 35 games. Trouba was named to the CCHA All-Conference First Team, and was a ďŹ nalist for Rookie of the Year. A product of the Compuware AAA program, Trouba played two seasons with the U.S. National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor. He won gold with the U.S. World Junior team this January in Ufa, Russia, and was named the prestigious youth tournamentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best defenseman. The Rochester native was just the third U.S. player to be given the award, joining Erik Johnson (2007) and Joe Corvo (1997). Troubaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s season came to a close when the Wolverines lost to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the ďŹ nal CCHA Championship game at Joe Louis Arena on March 24. Photo by Andrew Knapik/MiHockey

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Team entry form MUST be received 3 weeks before tournament date.

April 8, 2013 V.23 : I.15

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11


YOU SHOULD KNOW

you should know FAVORITE SPORTING EVENT:

The Stanley Cup or The Masters

MUST-SEE TV:

ESPN or NHL Network

FAVORITE BREAKFAST FOOD: Bacon

FAVORITE MOVIE: Tommy Boy

IF YOU COULD HAVE ONE SUPER POWER, WHAT WOULD IT BE: To be able to fly

NICKNAME: Stormy

FIRST CONCERT: Darryl Worley

THREE PEOPLE YOU WOULD WANT TO HAVE DINNER WITH: Any three of my friends from back home

PRE-GAME ROUTINE:

Eggs in the morning, nap in the afternoon. Good meal right before game

IF YOU WERE GIVEN $1 MILLION, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH IT:

I would build a nice house on Lake Superior and use the rest to travel the world with a couple buddies

FAVORITE MEAL: Lasagna

FAVORITE CHILDHOOD MEMORY:

Playing hockey on backyard ice rinks with all of my friends in the winter

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU HAVE AN HOUR OF FREE TIME: Probably watch hockey on TV or take a nap

WHO WAS MOST INFLUENTIAL ON YOUR HOCKEY CAREER:

Ben Storm

Muskegon Lumberjacks defenseman

Just because he’s leaving the state doesn’t mean Ben Storm’s not a name to keep an eye on. The Muskegon Lumberjacks defenseman – one of a select few to participate in the USHL Top Prospects Game this January – has committed to the St. Cloud State Huskies, where he will play in the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference when his time at the junior level concludes. Storm, a Calumet native, spent two seasons playing for his hometown high school, and he recorded 61 points in only 53 games. The 6-foot-6-inch defenseman has one goal and nine assists, along with a +5, in his first year with the Lumberjacks. Don’t be surprised if you hear his name called in a few months at the NHL Draft, either.

My parents. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them

Photos courtesy of: nhl.com (NHL logo), bacon.wikia.com (Bacon), hark.com (Tommy Boy), fanpop.com (Superman), allaccess.com (Darryl Worley)

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April 8, 2013 V.23 : I.15


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Laurel Manor

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13


YOUTH STATES

2013 STATE CHAMPIONS The MiHockey staff would like to congratulate the 32 teams that captured state titles over the last month. All the teams will also be honored at MiHockey’s annual ‘Banquet of Champions’ held at Laurel Manor on April 16. (All photos taken by the MiHockey staff or provided by a member of the championship team)

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LITTLE CAESARS - SQUIRT AA

MICHIGAN SNIPERS - MIDGET B

MT. CLEMENS – PREP (JV) DIVISION 1

NOVI – PREP (JV) DIVISION 2

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April 8, 2013 V.23 : I.15


YOUTH STATES

ALLEN PARK HUSKIES – BANTAM AA

GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS – BANTAM A

HONEYBAKED – BANTAM MAJOR

GROSSE ILE ISLANDERS – PEE WEE AA

HONEYBAKED – MIDGET MAJOR

HONEYBAKED – MIDGET MINOR

April 8, 2013 V.23 : I.15

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YOUTH STATES

MICHIGAN SNIPERS - BANTAM B

HONEYBAKED – SQUIRT A

BINKS COCA-COLA DICKINSON – SQUIRT B

OAKLAND GRIZZLIES – PEE WEE A

ST. IGANCE SAINTS – MIDGET BB

LITTLE CAESARS – PEE WEE MAJOR

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YOUTH STATES

DICKINSON IRON KINGS – PEE WEE B

OAKLAND GRIZZLIES – BANTAM MINOR

ST. CLAIR SHORES SAINTS – MIDGET A

FLINT PHANTOMS – MIDGET AA

BELLE TIRE – PEE WEE MAJOR

KENSINGTON VALLEY RAVENS – 10U TIER 2

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YOUTH STATES

18

KEWEENAW STORM – 19U TIER 2

COMPUWARE – 12U TIER 1

HONEYBAKED – 14U TIER 1

HONEYBAKED – 19U TIER 1

HONEYBAKED – 16U TIER 1

KENSINGTON VALLEY RAVENS – 12U TIER 2

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April 8, 2013 V.23 : I.15


YOUTH STATES

ST. CLAIR SHORES SAINTES – 14U TIER 2

GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS – 16U TIER 2

SUBURBAN FREEZE – 10U REC

MARQUETTE SENTINELS – 19U REC

CRANBROOK CAPTURES THIRD GIRLS’ HIGH SCHOOL STATE TITLE Two hours after the boys’ team captured a state title, the Cranbrook Kingswood girls’ team followed suit, winning the third state championship. The CK girls topped Grosse Pointe South in overtime for a 3-2 victory in the Division 1 state title game at Eddie Edgar Arena in Livonia. Freshman Hana DeClerck had the gamewinner to help the Cranes beat one of their main rivals.

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MWJHL

BY MATT MACKINDER The Hartland Hounds played a near-perfect regular season and then a perfect post-season to win the Midwest Junior Hockey League’s regular-season and Veteran’s Memorial Cup playoff championships. And near-perfect may be an understatement – the Hounds went 47-0-1-0 in the inaugural MWJHL regular season, losing just once in overtime to the Michigan Ice Dogs in January. The Hounds then swept the Bloomington Jr. Blaze in two straight to open the playoffs and then swept Tennyson Chevrolet to win the playoff championship, concluding with a thrilling 3-2 win on March 29 at the Kensington Valley Ice House in Brighton. Cam Miglia scored the tying goal and the go-ahead goal in the third period for the Hounds and MWJHL goaltender of the year Andrew Brownlee did the rest. Gabe Daavettila also scored for the Hounds, while Zach Wiacek and captain Zach Chapman scored for Tennyson. Chris Lewis made 19 saves in the loss. “Cam stepped up big with all the other guys out (with injuries),” Hartland coach and MWJHL coach of the year Randy Montrose said. “I thought it was a great team effort. They all did their jobs and everyone chipped in where they had to chip in.” Captain Jake Henrikson missed all but one shift of the playoffs after getting hurt on the opening shift of the

Bloomington series, while impact forwards Thomas Kerr and Jared Vincek also missed vast portions of the playoffs. “It’s always tough to keep composure when we play a bigger opponent and we had a short bench to start with,” explained Hartland defenseman P.J. Krystyniak. “I was pretty happy with how we pulled these wins out. They were battles, though.” Miglia said while the two championships thus far are great, playing for an AAU national championship this weekend in Las Vegas is the ultimate goal. “I think it would be way bigger to win a national championship, but it’s really been a hell of a season,” said Miglia. “Two goals down, one to go. That’s been our goal since the beginning of the season.” Both Hartland and Tennyson will represent the MWJHL at the national tournament. Two teams qualify from the league – regular-season and playoff champ. If those two were the same team, as Hartland was, the playoff runner-up qualifies. The Hounds and Tennyson will play against teams from the nation’s two other AAU-sanctioned leagues – the Western States Hockey League and Northern States Hockey League. “It’s a good feeling,” said Brownlee, who finished with 33 saves in the series clincher and was 30-1-0 with five shutouts,

a 1.87 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage during the regular season to lead all goalies. “We have to get some rest and get the guys healthy who are out and get ready to go to Vegas. “It was a long process to get here to this moment, but it’s a new season once we go out to Vegas.” FIREHAWKS ALSO WIN MWJHL AWARDS The Soo Firehawks, who finished second in the regularseason standings before bowing out to Tennyson in the playoffs, also picked up league year-end awards as Kevin Killips bagged defenseman of the year and Nick Murphy took home forward of the year laurels. Killips led all league defenders in scoring with 23 goals and 59 points, while Murphy scored 56 goals and 48 assists for 104 points in 41 games to share the scoring title with Bryce Stenstrom of the Holland River Bandits, who played three more games than Murphy.

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and AA, High School Varsity and JV Contact MYHockey Tournaments Toll Free US and Canada 855-898-4040 myhockeytournaments.com Canadian Hockey Enterprises May 24-27, 2013 (Memorial Day) Gamblers Cup Las Vegas, Nevada Over 19, 25, 30, 35, 40, divisions Canadian Hockey Enterprises...1-800-461-2161 chehockey.com goals@chehockey.com Weekend Hockey Tournament Atlantic City, NJ May 31 – June 2, 2013 Adult men & women 19+, 25+, 30+, 35+, 40+, 45+ & 50+ A, B, C, D, E 1.877.702.5701 weekendhockey.com JUNE 2013 USA International Hockey Cup Blaine, MN June, July & August Boys’ & Girls’ Divisions 763-717-3240 Superrink.org Weekend Hockey Tournament Atlantic City, NJ June 14-16, 2013 Adult men & women 19+, 25+, 30+, 35+, 40+, 45+ & 50+ A, B, C, D, E 1.877.702.5701 weekendhockey.com Weekend Hockey Tournament Atlantic City, NJ June 21-23, 2013 Adult men & women 19+, 25+, 30+, 35+, 40+, 45+ & 50+ A, B, C, D, E 1.877.702.5701 weekendhockey.com JULY 2013 Walmart Hockey Cup Blaine, MN July 13-14, 2013 Boys’ & Girls’ 6-18 July 19-21, 2013 High School, Boys’ & Girls’ teams 763-717-3240 Superrink.org

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NAHL

NAHL PLAYOFFS READY TO GET UNDERWAY, NA3HL CROWNS SILVER CUP CHAMPS BY MATT MACKINDER

The North Iowa Bulls won the NA3HL title on March 30 over the Peoria Mustangs. (Photos courtesy of the NAHL)

Every team in the North American Hockey League has played 60 regular-season games and the Robertson Cup playoff match-ups are set. The regular-season champion Amarillo Bulls, who went 46-7-7 this year, will open the South Division playoffs against the Corpus Christi IceRays, while the defending Robertson Cup champion Texas Tornado will play the Topeka RoadRunners. In the West Division, all four teams make the postseason as the Wenatchee Wild play the Fresno Monsters and the two Alaska teams – Fairbanks Ice Dogs and Kenai River Brown Bears – play in the other series. The Austin Bruins and Minot Minotauros open the Central Division bracket along with the Bismarck Bobcats and Brookings Blizzard. Six teams from the eight-team North Division made the playoffs, with the Soo Eagles winning the division with a 41-14-5 regular-season ledger. The Eagles will play the lowest remaining seed among the two play-in series between the Port Huron Fighting Falcons and Johnstown Tomahawks and the Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings and Springfield Jr. Blues. The second-place Jamestown Ironmen will then face the highest remaining seed after those two best-of-three series. The Robertson Cup tournament is scheduled for May 10-13 at the Tornado’s home rink, the Dr Pepper Arena, in Frisco, Tex. Soo forward Jared VanWormer, who will play at Ferris State next season, finished the season as the NAHL scoring champion with 76 points on 25 goals and 51 assists, while Amarillo goalie Paul Berrafato led the league with 33 wins and a 1.66 goals-against average. The NAHL year-end awards will be announced at the Robertson Cup tournament banquet.

Three Rivers Vengeance forward Nico Vecchio was named Most Valuable Player and Forward of the Year after tallying 82 points (30 goals, 52 assists) in 48 games. His 52 assists were tops in the NA3HL and his 82 points ranked second. North Iowa’s Connor Langfield was honored as Defenseman of the Year. Langfield played in 41 games for the Bulls and had 48 points (13 goals, 35 assists). His 48 points and 35 assists were tops among league blueliners and his impressive plus-65 rating led the entire league. Michael Parda from the Mustangs earned Goaltender of the Year honors. Parda posted a 17-8-1 record during the regular season and his save percentage of .944 not only led the entire NA3HL, but was also the highest mark in the league since the 2008-09 season. He was second in the league in shutouts with five and also ranked third in the NA3HL in goals-against average (1.78). Waterford native and Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks forward Scott Cuthrell took home Rookie of the Year laurels. The 19-year-old Cuthrell led the league in scoring with 88 points (47 goals, 41 assists), helping Cleveland capture the East Division title, while his 47 goals were the most in the league in three years. His 13 power-play goals tied for the NA3HL lead. St. Louis Jr. Blues’ coach J.P. Beilsten was honored as Coach of the Year, Cleveland’s Bob Jacobson was named General Manager of the Year, the Jr. Blues were named Organization of the Year, Toledo Cherokee forward and Adrian native Jordan Fogarty was honored with the Academic Achievement Award and Alexandria Blizzard forward Garrett Skinner won the Outstanding Community Service Award. All-NA3HL 1st Team Forward: Nico Vecchio, Three Rivers Vengeance Forward: Scott Cuthrell, Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks Forward: Ian Ecklund, Alexandria Blizzard Defense: Kyle Meeh, St. Louis Jr. Blues

Jared VanWormer

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BULLS ROMP TO NA3HL TITLE, AWARD WINNERS NAMED It was all North Iowa from start to finish on March 30 as the Bulls started strong and never let up, taking an 11-0 win over the Peoria Mustangs in the NA3HL Silver Cup championship game in suburban Chicago. As the NA3HL champions, North Iowa earns the right to represent the league at the USA Hockey Tier III junior national championships in Rochester, Minn., from April 4-8. The NA3HL also announced its award winners and AllNA3HL 1st and 2nd Teams for the 2012-13 season.

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Defense: Connor Langfield, North Iowa Bulls Goaltender: Michael Parda, Peoria Mustangs All-NA3HL 2nd Team Forward: Matt Kroska, North Iowa Bulls Forward: Alex Berardinelli, Three Rivers Vengeance Forward: Drew Otto, Granite City Lumberjacks Defense: Kyle Ware, Battle Creek Jr. Revolution Defense: Andrew Sprouse, Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks Goaltender: Matt Hughes, Battle Creek Jr. Revolution

April 8, 2013 V.23 : I.15


U O Y E AR

nahl.com

? T X NE

TRYOUT CAMPS

/tryouts m o .c l h a n www.n

the league of opportunity North american hockey league 2012-2013 college commitments Amarillo Bulls Clint Carlisle Ryan Cole Tyler Deresky Brady Ferguson Geoff Fortman Joe Grabowski Hampus Gustafsson Garret Peterson John Rey Tyler Rostenkowski TJ Sarcona TJ Sherman

Army (Atlantic Hockey, D1) Trinity College (NESCAC, D3) Bentley University (Atlantic Hockey, D1 Robert Morris University (Atlantic Hockey, D1)* Canisius College (Atlantic Hockey, D1) Princeton University (ECACHL, D1) Merrimack College (Hockey East, D1) Army (Atlantic Hockey, D1) Robert Morris University (Atlantic Hockey, D1) Air Force Academy (Atlantic Hockey, D1) ‡ Niagara University (Atlantic Hockey, D1) Trinity College (NESCAC, D3)

Austin Bruins Brandon Wahlin

University of Massachusetts (Hockey East, D1)

Jamestown Ironmen Reid Mimmack Ross Pavek

Bemidji State University (WCHA, D1) St. Norbert College (NCHA, D3)

Janesville Jets Ryan Dau Zach Diamantoni Jason Ford Ruslan Pedan

Air Force Academy (Atlantic Hockey, D1) ‡ Northern Michigan University (CCHA, D1) * Bemidji State University (WCHA, D1) Bemidji State University (WCHA, D1)

Johnstown Tomahawks Casey Nelson Minnesota State-Mankato (WCHA, D1) Ian Spencer University of Vermont (Hockey East, D1) Chris Truehl Air Force Academy (Atlantic Hockey, D1)

Bismarck Bobcats Mike Dockry Bob Kinne Matt Pohlkamp

Army (Atlantic Hockey, D1) Bemidji State University (WCHA, D1) Bowling Green State University (CCHA, D1)‡

Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings Brett Beauvais Sam Johnson Jesse Junttila Mac McDonnell Robbie Payne

Brookings Blizzard Michael Bitzer Drew Brevig Aidan Cavallini Cody Marooney

Bemidji State University (WCHA, D1) # Ohio State University (CCHA, D1) University of Wisconsin (WCHA, D1) University of Alabama-Huntsville (Independent, D1)

Kenai River Brown Bears Mikhail Bushinski Utica College (ECAC West, D3) Albin Karlsson Niagara University (Atlantic Hockey, D1) * Zac Lazzaro Utica College (ECAC West, D3) Dylan Meier Augsburg College (MIAC, D3)

Bemidji State University (WCHA, D1) Trinity College (NESCAC, D3) Northern Michigan University (CCHA, D1) * University of Windsor (CIS, D) Northern Michigan University (CCHA, D1)

Corpus Christi IceRays Michael Economos Plymouth State (MASCAC, D3) Beau Walker University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (NCHA, D3)

Michigan Warriors Levi Erkkila Corey Schueneman

Northern Michigan University (CCHA, D1) Western Michigan University (CCHA, D1) *

Coulee Region Chill Garrett Hendrickson Jake Kauppila Brady Riesgraf

Minot Minotauros Tyler Parks

St. Lawrence University (ECACHL, D1)

Odessa Jackalopes Ryan Doucet

Air Force Academy (Atlantic Hockey, D1)

Fairbanks Ice Dogs Max Birkinbine Garret Clemment Preston Hodge Duggie Lagrone Devin Loe Tayler Munson Patrick Newell Steve Perry Doug Rose

St. Cloud State University (WCHA, D1) Michigan Tech University (WCHA, D1) Bemidji State University (WCHA, D1) Air Force Academy (Atlantic Hockey, D1) Lake Superior State University (CCHA, D1) Uni. of Nebraska-Omaha (WCHA, D1) # Colorado College (WCHA, D1) Miami University (CCHA, D1) University of Alaska-Fairbanks (CCHA, D1) St. Cloud State University (WCHA, D1) Clarkson University (ECACHL, D1) Sacred Heart University (Atlantic Hockey, D1)

Port Huron Fighting Falcons Mark Evan Auk Michigan Tech University (WCHA, D1) Brett D’Andrea Bowling Green State University (CCHA, D1) Rick DeRosa Penn State (Big 10, D1) Alex Globke Lake Superior State University (CCHA, D1) # Ian Miller Lake Superior State University (CCHA, D1) Ryan Nick Army (Atlantic Hockey, D1) Kyle Plageman Army (Atlantic Hockey, D1) ‡ Nolan Valleau Ohio State University (CCHA, D1) #

NAHL.com Soo Eagles Brandon Adams Tyler Marble Denver Pierce Jared VanWormer

SUNY-Oswego (SUNYAC, D3) Colorado College (WCHA, D1) Northern Michigan University (CCHA, D1) Ferris State University (CCHA, D1)

6SULQJÀHOG-U%OXHV Jon Carkeek Matt Leon Brett Skibba

Hamilton College (NESCAC, D3) SUNY-Geneseo (SUNYAC, D3) University of Connecticut (Atlantic Hockey, D1)

Texas Tornado Justin Greenberg Brandon Hawkins Drew Mayer Nick Neville CJ Reuschlein Max Shuart

Miami University (CCHA, D1) Bowling Green State University (CCHA, D1) Ferris State University (CCHA, D1) University of Denver (WCHA, D1) Army (Atlantic Hockey, D1) University of Michigan (CCHA, D1) ‡

Topeka RoadRunners Tyler Andrew Sean Gaffney Ross Luedtke Davey Middleton Kyle Sharkey

Ferris State University (CCHA, D1) * University of Connecticut (Atlantic Hockey, D1) Air Force Academy (Atlantic Hockey, D1) ‡ Brown University (ECACHL, D1) # University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (NCHA, D3)

Wenatchee Wild Jono Davis Josh Hartley Robert Nichols Mario Puskarich

University of Nebraska-Omaha (WCHA, D1) Dartmouth College (ECACHL, D1) University of Connecticut (Atlantic Hockey, D1) University of Vermont (Hockey East, D1) #

Wichita Falls Wildcats Chris Knudson Ben Kucera Tyler Ledford Tucker Poolman Sami Salminen Will Vosejpka

Michigan State University (CCHA, D1) Air Force Academy (Atlantic Hockey, D1) * Air Force Academy (Atlantic Hockey, D1) * University of North Dakota (WCHA, D1) # Northern Michigan University (CCHA, D1) Air Force Academy (Atlantic Hockey, D1) *

2012 - 2013 College Commitments as of March 25, 2013 * 2014-15 # Alumni ‡ Committed while playing for another NAHL team http://nahl.com/player-advancement/college/


JUNIORS BY MATT MACKINDER He was born in Belgium, has a Canadian passport, but lives in Rochester and has grown up playing his youth hockey in the Detroit area. And Sean Day is fast-tracking his way to the Ontario Hockey League. Day, a 6-foot-2, 197-pound defenseman who played this season for the Compuware Minor Midget team, was granted “exceptional player” status on March 21 by Hockey Canada to play in the OHL next season as a 15-year-old. Day, who only turned 15 on Jan. 9, will now be eligible to be drafted during the OHL Priority Selection of primarily 1997 birth year players on April 6. This past season with Compuware, Day scored 11 goals and added 24 assists for 35 points in 63 games with a plus-47 rating before his team was eliminated from the state playoffs earlier than expected. Day becomes the fourth player to be granted “exceptional player” status following Connor McDavid, who went first overall to Erie last year, Aaron Ekblad, who was taken No. 1 by Barrie in 2011, and John Tavares in 2005 by Oshawa with the top pick. “I’m really happy,” said Day. “Really relieved about the decision.” Day gave credit to the Compuware organization for helping to prepare him for this situation. “I enjoyed (the 2012-13 season),” Day said. “There was a lot of top players on our team that have college commitments and some that are going to the NTDP next year, so playing with high-level players is good. We played good teams and always had competition. This was also the first year I had defensive coaching to help improve my game all around.” The Ottawa 67’s hold the No. 1 overall pick in the draft for the first time since 1993 when Alyn McCauley went first overall. That said, according to the Ottawa Citizen, there is no guarantee the 67’s will even take Day with the top pick. “We have to make the best choice for our team and we are going to do that,” said Ottawa coach-GM Chris Byrne.

GRANTED EXCEPTIONAL STATUS TO ENTER OHL DRAFT EARLY “We continue to do our due diligence and when the time is right to announce the name of our pick, we will do that, too.” Day said playing for the 67’s is certainly an option. “For me, I’m prepared to go anywhere and I’ll play anywhere that takes me,” said Day. “The point of getting this (“exceptional player” status) was to play in the OHL, not to get a certain spot on a team. Going that far (to Ottawa) to play hockey, I’m fine with that.” “Sean said his goal is to play in the OHL,” said Keith Day, Sean’s father. “Location is not the primary driver.” Once he suits up in the OHL next year, Day said his No. 1 priority is simple. “Just to play,” said Day. “I’m not looking to score goals or anything. I’m just looking to help out a team. Other than that, I’m not looking to do anything special except play and help out the team.” Day also said that applying for the “exceptional player” status didn’t even come up as an option until late in 2012. “It was right after Silver Sticks ended and I guess there

was a lot of talk about me being a top-end player and from there, I started thinking about (applying),” Day said. “I talked to my advisor (Jason Woolley) for a while before considering it and then in February, we applied and it kind of went from there.” Once the process began with Hockey Canada to determine if Day was physically, emotionally and mentally ready to play with and against players five years older than him, Day said it was “the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through.” “There are so many tests and they get you at every angle,” explained Day. “It shows what kind of a player you are and what kind of a person you are off the ice and on the ice. I’m just happy with how it turned out. “In some ways, (getting the status) did surprise me because of some of the rumors going around and how many people were saying I shouldn’t get it, but in the back of my head, I knew I could get it and I felt that I could get it. I just have to be the way I am and if I wasn’t the way I am, I don’t think I would have gotten it.”

NTDP ANNOUNCES FIRST SEVEN COMMITMENTS FOR 2013-14 U17 TEAM

The U.S. National Team Development Program announced the first seven commitments for their 2013-14 Under-17 team on March 27, with three Michigan natives joining the Ann Arbor-based program. Forward Brendan Warren (Carelton) and defensemen Nicholas Boka (Plymouth) and Zach Werenski (Grosse Pointe) were formally announced as inagural members of the 2013-14 Under-17 team. They join forwards Christian Fischer (Wayne, Ill.), Jordan Greenway (Potsdam, N.Y.), Luke Kirwan (DeWitt, N.Y.) and Matthew Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo.) as the first seven selected for the team. Warren, currently a forward for the Compuware Midget Minor program, had 51 points in 54 games. He’s listed as a verbal commit to the University of Michigan. Boka, also a product of the Compuware Midget Minor squad, skated in 50 games and recorded 30 points. Werenski played in 28 games with the Little Caesars Midget Major squad in 2012-13, where he posted seven goals and 14 assists in High Performance Hockey League play.

Zach Werenski (Michael Caples/MiHockey)

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PLYMOUTH WHALERS

Young Michigan talent ready to be drafted at OHL PRIORITY SELECTION BY MATT MACKINDER When the annual Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection takes place this Saturday (April 6), expect many Michigan-born players to see their names pop up on the draft list of the online-exclusive event that starts at 9 a.m. Seeing how many of those Michiganders wind up in the OHL is another story, as past history has shown that taking Americans in the draft can be a roll of the dice. Just because they are drafted, it doesn’t mean the player will wind up with the OHL club holding his rights. The Saginaw Spirit has the eighth selection in the first round, while the Plymouth Whalers choose 16th. The Ottawa 67’s hold the first-overall pick. OHL Michigan scout Kevin Hess recently sat down with MiHockey to discuss who he feels are the top 20 prospects from Michigan born in 1997 heading into Saturday. Players are listed in alphabetical order. MATT ACCIAOLI – BELLE TIRE 16U – DEFENSEMAN “Smaller defenseman that plays the game like he is much bigger. He plays a fairly complete game from the back end being a player that his coaches can put on the ice in any situation. Acciaioli is a good skater that is very good on his edges. Despite his size disadvantage, he is not afraid of physical contact. He wins his battles for loose pucks and contains his man along the wall with hockey sense, his skating ability and a quick and active stick.” AUSTIN ALGER – CRANBROOK KINGSWOOD HIGH SCHOOL – FORWARD “Excelled this season playing versus older, bigger and stronger young men. He plays for an outstanding coach (Andy Weidenbach) that teaches him how to compete in all three zones of the ice. He is the type of player that accepts any role his team needs fulfilled. He has regularly played versus the opponent’s top line, shutting them down while chipping in offensively.” NICK AZAR – BELLE TIRE 16U – DEFENSEMAN “Smart defenseman that can play in any situation. Plays a good 1-on-1 and makes a very good first pass.” DOUG BLAISEDELL – HONEYBAKED 16U – DEFENSEMAN “Big-bodied defenseman with a good offensive upside. Has the ability to take over a game when he wants to. He is a good skater for his size with average speed. He has good feet for a big guy.”

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NICK BOKA – COMPUWARE 16U – DEFENSEMAN “Good skating defender that plays on the edge. He is a punishing defender that finishes a high percentage of his checks. Great offensive instincts with a heavy shot from the point.” SEAN DAY – COMPUWARE 16U – DEFENSEMAN “First USA Hockey-registered player to gain exceptional status in the Ontario Hockey League (and thus, will enter the league one year early). His skating stride is the best I have seen in my eight years of scouting. Has the skating and skill level to bring fans out of their seats.” JARED DOMIN – BELLE TIRE 16U – FORWARD “Powerful north-south skating winger who is among the top three fastest players in the age group. Finishes a high percentage of his checks. Works hard both on and off the ice. As one of the only Michigan-born players to attend the OHL Combine, set high scores in the power grip test and skating sprints. GRANT GABRIELLE – COMPUWARE 16U – DEFENSEMAN “His game got better and better as the season progressed. Has the potential to be a very good two-way defenseman at the next level. Has good offensive instincts and makes a good outlet pass to get his team’s offensive rush started.” JR. GATES – COMPUWARE 16U – FORWARD “Skilled center that possesses quick hands and good skating speed.” JAKE GINGEL – COMPUWARE 16U – DEFENSEMAN “Prototype stay-at-home defender that plays a spirited, physical game. Tough player to play against who contains well in his own zone. He is the type of player that you love to have on your team and hate to play against.” GORDIE GREEN – COMPUWARE 16U – FORWARD “One of, if not the best pure goal scorers in the age group. If I need a goal, I am putting the puck on his stick. Sees the ice extremely well.” RYAN LARKIN – HONEYBAKED 16U – GOALTENDER “Butterfly-style goaltender that has played very consistently throughout the season. A very big reason why his team won the state championship. Very good at controlling his rebounds and smothering loose pucks.” RYAN MOORE – BELLE TIRE 16U – FORWARD “Explosive skating, highly-skilled center that makes every player around him better. Great four-way mobility

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that lets him make something out of nothing. Plays bigger than his size indicates, finishes a high percentage of his checks and plays with an edge.” ZACH OSBURN – HONEYBAKED 16U – DEFENSEMAN “Highly-skilled high risk, high rewards offensive defenseman. Osburn is a very good skater with a good stride that eats up ice. Has the ability to score in a variety of ways. Possesses great hockey sense and seems to be in the right place at the right time – all the time.” BRANDON SCHEIMAN – HONEYBAKED 16U – DEFENSEMAN “Plays a very simple, yet very effective game. He has a tall, lanky frame that he should start filling out in the next few years. He is a good north-south skater with a solid fundamental stride. He plays a very tight gap on his 1-on1s, getting the turnover high in his own zone and moving the puck up ice quickly.” TYLER SENSKY – COMPUWARE 16U – DEFENSEMAN “He is a technically sound skater with good speed. Possesses a good shot from the point. Does a good job of finding a lane to get the puck to the net.” BRODY STEVENS – COMPUWARE 16U – FORWARD “Physical forward that plays an honest two-way game. Stevens competes at a high level, doing a good job of finishing a majority of his checks and winning a high percentage of his battles for loose pucks. He does a good job on his draws, rarely losing a draw cleanly. Sees the ice very well and goes into high-traffic areas without hesitation.” CHAZ SWITZER – COMPUWARE 16U – DEFENSEMAN “Good-skating, solid overall defenseman. He can play in any style of game and be successful. “ BRENDAN WARREN – COMPUWARE 16U – FORWARD “Powerful skater that has that elusive fifth gear that allows him to separate from defenders. Is good on his edges and gets up to top speed quickly from a dead stop. Plays a complete 200-foot game.” ZACH WERENSKI – LITTLE CAESARS 18U – DEFENSEMAN “Young man that has never played in his own age group. Was a dominant player at the U-18 level this season. Has the ability to take over a game from the back end. Great offensive instincts sometimes overshadow his solid defensive zone play.”

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GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS BY KYLE KUJAWA

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t’s hard to blame Calle Jarnkrok for being a little overwhelmed. After arriving in Grand Rapids on the night of March 25, he grabbed a few hours of sleep and woke up to join his new team, the Griffins, for practice. He was swarmed with autograph requests as soon as he stepped off the ice of the Griffins’ practice facility, did an on-camera interview for local television, then went back to Van Andel Arena to participate in a team workout. That evening, he packed a few bags and prepared to join the Griffins’ on a two-week road trip, their longest of the season. Despite the busy first few days, Jarnkrok knows that this opportunity can only benefit him. “It feels great to be here,” he said. “I’m very excited. It seems like a good bunch of guys on the team.” Jarnkrok is unanimously considered one of the

been a dream of both.” Being selected by the Red Wings 51st overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft was a crucial step in reaching his dream. He grew up idolizing Henrik Zetterberg, and watched the Red Wings rely on Swedish players like Nicklas Lidstrom, Tomas Holmstrom and Niklas Kronwall while winning multiple Stanley Cups. “I talked to some teams,” he said. “But I had no idea which team was going to pick me. It’s been great being with Detroit. I was so happy.” Although the Red Wings have continued to stockpile Swedish talent, Jarnkrok, who knows English but hasn’t had to speak it very regularly, arrived in Grand Rapids finding only one other Swede, as his countrymen Nyquist and Andersson were up with Detroit. Luckily, it was a close friend from back home. “I know [Adam Almquist] from playing with the junior national teams,” said Jarnkrok, who played with his new teammate on the Swedish under-18 team

Detroit Red Wings’ top prospects, right up there with Gustav Nyquist, Brendan Smith or Tomas Tatar, depending on which lists you’re looking at. Signed by Detroit last summer, he spent the year in the Swedish Elite League, but is finishing the season in the AHL to get a taste of North American hockey and give the powers-that-be a chance to weigh in on his future. “We haven’t talked about it so much yet,” said Jarnkrok. “We will see what happens. Maybe I will be in Sweden, or Detroit, or here. I’m not sure.” Having played at the professional level regularly in Sweden for four seasons, there’s talk that Jarnkrok could be ready to jump directly to the NHL next year. But high numbers don’t always translate across the pond, which is why the Red Wings chose to evaluate him in the AHL to determine the best route. With the possibility of losing several forwards, like Nyquist, Tatar and Joakim Andersson, permanently to the NHL next season, the Griffins could use another player to slot into a skill role. But Sweden is always an option for Jarnkrok as well, where he’s played for Brynas IF, the team he grew up rooting for. “It feels great to be able to play for my home town,” said Jarnkrok, a native of Gavle, Sweden. “It’s very good to have an important role on the team and be a guy who scores goals and makes points.” Jarnkrok explained that playing for Brynas was a dream come true. Growing up in Sweden, many young hockey players follow the NHL, but don’t always get to watch much of the action due to the time difference. Jarnkrok grew up wanting to play for Brynas, only altering his plan once he realized he had a chance to play in the NHL. “From the beginning I dreamed of playing in the Elite League,” he said. “When I got older, I dreamed of going to the next level and playing with the best. It’s

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from 2008-10. “I met some of the other guys in a few summer camps, but I don’t know them well.” Local fans will only have a few chances to see Jarnkrok live this season. He’ll help the Griffins close out a road trip and begin their final homestand of the season, giving him three games in Grand Rapids from April 10-13. But he’ll also have a chance to shine on the international stage, as he’s being considered for a spot on the national team for the upcoming IIHF World Championship, held in Finland and Sweden from May 3-19. “I don’t know if I’m going to make the team,” said Jarnkrok, noting that it depends on which players will be available after the NHL and AHL’s regular seasons end. “But I have to be home by April 15.” Jarnkrok was pointless in his first three games in North America, but didn’t look out of place on a skilled line with Tomas Jurco and Landon Ferraro. He didn’t feel out of place off the ice, either, even though he only spent a few hours in Grand Rapids before leaving for the road trip. “It feels around the same size [as Gavle], I think,” he said. “I just don’t know many people who live here, but it feels like the same kind of town.” And whether he does end up in the NHL, AHL or SEL next season, it’s clear that he’ll make an impact. He finished eighth in Sweden’s top league in scoring this season, setting a personal best with 42 points. However, it was a disappointment compared to last season, when he finished 14th overall in scoring but helped Brynas capture the SEL championship. He hopes to do the same thing in North America in the not-so-distant future. “It was a great feeling, especially doing it for my hometown,” said Jarnkrok. “The whole city was watching, it was great. It was a dream come true.”

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Photo courtesy of Jan Buler/ Brynas IF

JARNKROK GETTING A TASTE OF NORTH AMERICA

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April 8, 2013 V.23 : I.15

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RED WINGS

DAN DEKEYSER

SIGNS WITH HIS HOMETOWN TEAM

BY MICHAEL CAPLES DETROIT – Dan DeKeyser has to wear a new number. For the majority of his life, the Clay Township native has worn the No. 5. But with his new team, that number isn’t exactly available. DeKeyser, a lifelong Red Wings fan, announced on March 29 that he would forego his senior season at Western Michigan to sign with Detroit. Like most aspiring defensemen out of the state of Michigan, he looked up to Nicklas Lidstrom. The Red Wings legendary defenseman will soon see his No. 5 jersey hang in the rafters of Joe Louis Arena, which means that DeKeyser went with No. 65, a number that still “had a five in it.” “It’ll be an adjustment, but what can you do,” DeKeyser said with a smile after his first practice as a member of the Detroit Red Wings the next day. As it turns out, Lidstrom actually played a role in the Wings’ recruitment of DeKeyser, a free-agent defenseman after going undrafted who fielded offers from almost every NHL club. “He actually called me the other day when I was going through the decision process,” DeKeyser said of his childhood idol. “He talked to me for a few minutes, and that kind of thing, and then I got to meet him here today, so, it was pretty special. “He just told me a little bit about the organization, how special of a place it is to play, they’ve got a great management team here, and a locker room full of great guys. He just said it would be a fun place to play, and I took his word for it.”

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Lidstrom, in town on a family vacation, said that he wasn’t aware that he was DeKeyser’s favorite player when Ken Holland put him on the phone with DeKeyser during his recruitment period. “Yeah, I talked to him a few days ago, I know he’s coming to a very good organization, a very committed organization, a team that wants to win, ownerships that want to win, and he’s from the area, so I’m sure he’s very excited about playing here in front of his family.” Lidstrom said DeKeyser didn’t have many questions to ask while the two chatted. “Not really, I don’t think he was ready for my call. I don’t think he was expecting me to call him. He’s more listening to what I had to say, I know he had a lot of teams that were asking for him and he had meetings with a lot of teams so I’m sure it wasn’t an easy decision for him, but we’re very happy to have him here.” For DeKeyser, talking to and meeting Lidstrom is just another first in a long list of new experiences. He said he was pleased with how his first skate went, and now he’s focused on “getting his feet wet” as he adjusts to the pro game. “I think just kind of adjusting to the next level,” DeKeyser said when asked what he needed to work on most. “The guys are a little bit bigger and a little bit strong here, and a little bit quicker, so it’s going to be a bit of an adjustment for me, but hopefully I can come in and be fine. [The first practice] was good, I haven’t skated in a few days, but trying to get my legs under me a little bit. It was a smooth skate, good tempo, that’s for sure.” Shortly after the Red Wings’ first practice with DeKeyser concluded, the club announced that they had traded away

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defenseman Kent Huskins to the Philadelphia Flyers, presumably to make room on the roster for DeKeyser. With the DeKeyser addition, the Wings now have nine defensemen on the roster (as of April 1), with Kyle Quincey currently out of the line-up due to a facial injury, though he has been skating with a cage on. Holland said he expects DeKeyser to stay with the NHL club for the rest of the season. “I think we’re going to keep him here for basically the whole year,” Holland said. “Now that doesn’t mean you can’t send him down for a day or two.” Lidstrom said that after watching DeKeyser skate at Joe Louis Arena, he came away impressed with his movement on the ice. “He’s a very good skater,” Lidstrom said. “He looked confident out there. I’m sure he was nervous on the inside, coming out and skating for the first time with the guys… looks like he’s a good puck-moving defenseman.” Niklas Kronwall, now the leader on the Wings’ blue line due to the departures of Lidstrom and Brad Stuart last summer, says that he’s pleased with the depth Detroit has on the blue line. “I think it looks pretty good for us in the future,” Kronwall said. “You can’t [replace] guys like Lidstrom. He’s one of a kind. What we can do is try to get as much depth as possible and do it together instead.” Holland said that the addition of DeKeyser helps with building that depth, along with the development of young defensemen like Brendan Smith, Jakub Kindl, and Brian Lashoff. “I think it’s always a priority to have good defense,” Holland said. “Obviously we’ve had a guy [Lidstrom] who was a cornerstone for 20 years and we knew we had to overhaul. I think we’re in a good position because we’ve got a lot of competition. We’re going to have to make some decisions on defense heading into the summer, but the young kids have really stated a case and allowed us to have some depth.”

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Photo by Michael Caples/MiHockey

WESTERN MICHIGAN DEFENSEMAN


JUNIORS PREVIEW THE LAST LINE

T

he Miami RedHawks fell to St. Cloud State Huskies on March 31, 2013 in Toledo, Ohio in the Midwest Regional Final. At stake was a bid to the NCAA Frozen Four. In the end, it was the Huskies moving on and the the RedHawks ending their season and concluding the Central Collegiate Hockey Conference “Celebrate The Legacy” final season after a 42-year run. What began as a scheduling alliance discussed by a few coaches in Boston in 1971 ended in 2013 in Ohio, thus closing down a Michigan institution. Six of the 11 teams in the final edition of the CCHA hailed from the Mitten. It brought large schools like Michigan State and the University of Michigan together for in-state battles against smaller programs such as Ferris State and Lake Superior State. That was an element that made the CCHA special and unique in our state. Next season has everyone aligning in new conferences. MSU and U of M will be part of the new six-team Big 10 Conference. The Western Michigan Broncos will be part of the newly formed National Collegiate Hockey Conference and the lone Michigan representative. Ferris State, Lake State and Northern Michigan all move to a reconfigured Western Collegiate Hockey Association. There they join the Michigan Tech Huskies, who have been part of the WCHA since returning in 1985. The other five schools that comprised the final version of the CCHA all move as well. Miami enters the new NCHC with a rivalry built in after losing to future conference foe St. Cloud State. Notre Dame joins Hockey East, while the remaining member schools (Alaska Anchorage, Bowling Green, Ferris State, Lake State and Northern Michigan) all fold into the WCHA. Everyone placed and accounted for, with the CCHA now just a memory. Those memories will live on as teams in-state continue to compete against one another in home-and-home sets and rotating site series on an annual basis. Plus, the Great Lakes Invitational continues as a unifying event for Michigan college hockey, co-hosted at the Joe by Michigan Tech and U of M. So, while the CCHA is gone, the ability to sustain rivalries will still be there. And while it might not seem like it now - or sit well with some – this is about trying to grow college hockey from a visibility standpoint. Thus, the Big Ten banner is being unfurled to encompass hockey. The reach and brand recognition of the Big Ten is the draw, as are the power schools involved: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio State, along with the Wolverines and Spartans. New to the mix is Penn State, who come in as the sixth member of the initial “Original Six” Big Ten Conference. The Nittany Lions may lack the history the other schools boast, but with a brand-new building and strong recruiting classes, they won’t be “new” for long. It makes sense on certain levels and leaves you feeling nostalgic on others. As U of M’s legendary coach Red Berenson said after the CCHA’s final championship game, for 29 years the CCHA was the only place he had ever coached. For many in Michigan, the CCHA was the identity of college hockey. The goal now is to keep the local interest level high, while further extending the identity of the hockey amongst college sports fans at large. The cost for pushing for progress is the Central Collegiate Hockey Conference. That doesn’t at all diminish what the league meant to the growth of the game over the past four decades-plus. Now, though, the memories are forever frozen in time. Let the nostalgia begin.

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WHEN TIMES

CHANGE BY DARREN ELIOT

@Darren_Eliot

Photos by MiHockey’s Andrew Knapik and Michael Caples

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April 8, 2013 V.23 : I.15


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MiHockeyMag - April 8, 2013  

State champions, youth hockey, juniors, red Wings