Sunday, September 04, 2005

Grosse Pointe Park native done with OHL

IceDogs lose defenceman

The Mississauga News

The lure of a scholarship at a major university closer to home was more than Adam Abraham could resist.

The 18-year-old native of Grosse Pointe Park says he won't be returning to the Mississauga IceDogs' blueline for his third season in the Ontario Hockey League. Abraham told The News that while it was a tough decision to make, he has opted for a baseball scholarship with the Wolverines, based in Ann Arbor and a mere 40-minute drive from his home.

"I'll miss hockey and the IceDogs, but this is a good opportunity for me," said the defenceman, who was the second-round pick of the IceDogs in the 2003 OHL priority draft.

Abraham, a pitcher and infielder with his Ann Arbor team, said he has agreed to a partial scholarship that will cover about 75 percent of the annual costs to attend Michigan.

"I think being drafted by Florida may have tweaked his interest to pursue a career in baseball," said the owner and general manager of the IceDogs, Mario Forgione.

"Actually that didn't factor into it at all," said Abraham, who was a late draft choice of Major League Baseball's Florida Marlins in June. "It really came down to a great opportunity at Michigan."

Forgione, who has been holding discussions with Abraham's agent, said while it was certain the rearguard wouldn't be at training camp, there was a possibility he would join the IceDogs at a later date. But Abraham, who had five goals and 16 assists in 59 games last season and was a plus 16, ruled that out when he spoke to The News.

"I don't think I could leave Michigan to play hockey without jeopardizing my scholarship and I don't see myself doing that," said Abraham.

Abraham's loss leaves a big hole along the Mississauga blue line.The 5-foot-11, 200-pounder was a leading figure on the blueline, probably just behind overager David Pszenyczny (Sterling Heights). They did make defenceman Drew Schiestal their second pick in this year's priority draft. But unless he has added some muscle in the off-season, Schiestal will likely report to camp at around 160 pounds. He's six feet tall.

Abraham's departure would indicate that the IceDogs are likely going to have to make a trade to shore up the blueline, since defence is going to be a critical part of the game this year as a result of rule changes made by the National Hockey League and adopted by the OHL.

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