Wednesday, October 25, 2006

North Stars trade for TC native

Late last week, Mike Glaesmer asked Bay State Breakers' coach David McCauley for his unconditional release from the Eastern Junior Hockey League club. He wanted to come home.

While Traverse City North Stars head coach Scott Gardiner worked feverishly to acquire his North American Hockey League rights from the Alaska Avalanche, Glaesmer became restless. By Tuesday, he could take no more. Glaesmer packed up his car and started the long road trip from Rockland, Mass. to Traverse City.

He finally got the call that the trade had been arranged somewhere between Syracuse and Buffalo.

“I just couldn’t wait any longer,” said Glaesmer, who scored 21 goals for Traverse City West H.S. in 2001-02 en route to a berth on the Record-Eagle All-Region team. “I had a feeling it would get done. I’m so excited to get to play my last year of juniors at home in front of my family and friends. I can’t wait to get out there and get to it.”

The Avalanche let go of Glasemer’s rights for a player to be named at a later date after a lengthy series of negotiations.

“We’re glad to finally get it done and get Mike back here,” Gardiner said. “We think he can come in right away and be a major contributor. He’s a big body with good speed and a scoring touch, and he can play anywhere on the power play or penalty kill. We’re excited to finally get him in here.”

Glaesmer left Traverse City after his sophomore season with the Titans to play for the midget-AAA Marquette Electricians. After two years in the U.P., he went to the North American Hockey League’s Springfield (Mo.) Sprit, where he scored 12 goals and assisted on 10 others in 2004-05. The Spirit moved to Wasilla, Alaska before the 2005-06 season, and Glaesmer’s offensive totals also went north – he amassed 17 goals and 11 assists in 55 games last year for the Spirit.

After a year near the Arctic Circle, Glaesmer longed to be closer to home and family, but the Avalanche would not release his NAHL rights. The Stars and Avs exchanged proposals for what stretched into months. His NAHL status in limbo, Glaesmer took a turn with the Bay State Breakers of the junior-A Eastern Junior Hockey League, hoping the call would come from Gardiner. On Tuesday, it did.

This weekend, Glaesmer will don his familiar #28 sweater when the North Stars play host to the Marquette Rangers in a Friday-Saturday series. He will also line up across from a trio of former teammates, including the Rangers’ top two scorers in Nick Kosinski (4 goals, 11 assists) and Neeco Belanger (7 goals, 5 assists). The trio, along with Rangers defenseman Bret Larson, toiled together for the Electricians from 2002-2004.

“That’ll be a lot of fun, too,” said Glaesmer. “I really hope I can come in and contribute to what the North Stars have going. My dad (Kerry) is a North Stars season ticket holder, and he tells me they have a lot of skill and some depth, too. I hope to be able to come in and help out right away.”

When the North Stars and Rangers meet this weekend, the hosts are expected to have forward Aaron Pietila back in the lineup. The Brighton product has played in only eight games this year while weathering a bevy of ailments, but has been extremely productive, netting five goals and three assists in those games -- with four goals and three assists in his last three outings. Forward Alex Prough could also be available after suffering a concussion two weeks ago against Mahoning Valley.

“We have to get the effort this weekend, because we could really use all four points,” Gardiner added. “We haven’t been playing to our potential the last two or three games.”

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