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Friday, February 09, 2007

Hockey Day in Michigan set to faceoff

The second annual "Hockey Day in Michigan" on Feb. 10, presented by the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, FSN and the Detroit Red Wings, is already upon us.

While rinks throughout the state will be hosting numerous events this Saturday, FSN Detroit will be airing a college hockey double-header with Alaska versus Western Michigan at 4:35 p.m. and Michigan playing Michigan State at Joe Louis Arena at 7:30 p.m.

“Hockey Day in Michigan” is a statewide celebration of the passion, fun and friendships that make hockey such an important part of our sports landscape. Hockey Day is an opportunity for you to connect with the sport in your own unique way whether it be watching, playing, skating or helping out at an event.

Here are youth hockey memories fondly remembered by current CCHA players that grew up in Michigan.

Jeff Lerg (pictured)
Michigan State (Livonia)
“My fondest memory growing up in Livonia was just playing hockey with my friends. As I got older, it was easier to get good pick-up games with high-talented players such as Bryan Marshall (Nebraska-Omaha), my cousin Bryan (teammate at Michigan State), Erik Condra (Notre Dame), Brandon Naurato (Michigan) and many other players from nearby cities.”

Todd McIlrath
Bowling Green (Northville)
“My fondest memory of growing up and playing in Michigan is playing street hockey as a kid. I grew up playing with the Plymouth Stingrays. During that time, I made a lot of friends that I am still very close to today.”

Justin Gutwald
Lake Superior (Grosse Pointe)
“The fondest memory I have was when the Wings won the Stanley Cup in 1997. It was cool to see how the whole city came together. The best part for me playing was competing at the International Silver Sticks all through my years of hockey and also being able to travel all over Michigan to compete.”

Bill Loupee
Miami (Bloomfield)
“My fondest memory of growing up playing hockey in my hometown is going out onto the second sheet at Royal Oak (John Lindell Ice Arena). The rink wasn’t enclosed yet, so we would all go out and practice and have a great time. Then everyone would cry when they came back inside to get undressed because all their toes were thawing out.”

Matt Hunwick
Michigan (Sterling Heights)
“The best part of growing up in Michigan, especially in the metro-Detroit area, is having the Red Wings and living close enough to Canada to get CBC and being able to watch Hockey Night in Canada every Saturday night. I used to love watching HNIC and I still do. Don Cherry in the Coaches Corner was a highlight of my Saturday night when I was younger. After home games at Yost, I still put on CBC in the players lounge after Saturday night games.”

Bryan Marshall
Nebraska-Omaha (Livonia)
“We had some pretty good teams in Livonia growing up. We won the state championship in Pee Wee A (1995) and Pee Wee AA (1996) as well as the national championship in ’96. Winning the national championship would have to be my fondest memory from playing hockey growing up. We just ripped through everyone in the national tournament. It was a blast!”

Josh Sciba
Notre Dame (Westland)
“My best memory playing hockey for Plymouth was scoring my first-ever goal at Joe Louis Arena in front of my entire family. I remember my grandfather shedding some tears of joy. I thought it was the coolest thing ever to play hockey at Joe Louis Arena. Playing hockey with my best friends growing up was also great.”

Sean Collins
Ohio State (Madison Heights/Troy)
“My fondest memories about playing hockey in my hometown definitely came from just being at the rinks with my brother and all the friends I made through hockey. We had almost as much fun running around the arenas before and after games as we did during games. After games on weekends, we would always go to the Gathering Place in Troy with my family and friends”

Jason DeSantis
Ohio State (Warren)
“My best thing about growing up and playing hockey in Michigan is how fun and competitive the hockey is. Michigan is a great state to grow up and play hockey. My best memories are playing in the championship games and winning state or winning all the different tournaments we played in.”

Corey Elkins
Ohio State (West Bloomfield)
“My best memory from playing back in my hometown is skating on the lake. Being out there without any pressure just skating and scoring for the pure fun of the game is the best feeling in the world.”

Brett John
Western Michigan
“My fondest hockey memory growing up playing in Michigan was probably my senior year at Detroit Catholic Central. I decided not to go play for St. Louis of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) that year because I wanted to play my senior year and graduate from Detroit Catholic Central. That was really important to me. We then went undefeated that year and won our third state championship in a row. It was an amazing year and one that I will never forget.”

Jeff Pierce
Western Michigan
“My fondest memory of playing hockey growing up in Michigan would have to be the countless battles of playing against Compuware when I played for Little Caesars. Those were always intense, but fun, games to play and especially when we won.

“I also remember when I was still living in Royal Oak, every winter my dad would make an ice rink for me and my sister to skate on and play hockey. I loved having my own rink right in my backyard.”

Article courtesy of the CCHA.

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