Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Palumbo named Traverse City general manager

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Anthony Palumbo helped Lake Superior State rise to national prominence as both a player and coach.

Now Palumbo aims to do the same with the Traverse City North Stars.

The former Lakers star, and most recently the head coach at Traverse City West High School, formally became the general manager of the North Stars on Tuesday, hours after resigning from his post at TC West. Palumbo, who will also spearhead the Stars’ coaching search, says the prospect of playing a role in shaping the futures of the players was a big draw.

“What excited me the most about this was the opportunity to help kids move on to the college level, and that’s the main focus of juniors,” said the Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. native. “I think back on my own college experiences as some of the best years of my life, and to get to be a part of getting kids into their own college years is very appealing to me.”

Palumbo, who starred in the Canadian high school ranks before his four-year playing stint at Lake Superior State, amassed 45 goals and 111 assists over 156 contests with the Lakers, helping the school to an NCAA championship in 1988. His finest statistical campaign was 1988-89 when he poured in 22 goals and assisted on 44 others for the 29-11-6 NCAA tourney qualifiers. During the 1991-92 season, Palumbo was an associate coach for a squad that went 30-9-4 and captured another NCAA crown. He was drafted in the 1989 NHL supplemental draft by the New York Rangers before embarking on a career in finance.

He is presently a commercial loan officer for Huntington Bank in Traverse City.

“Anthony is a longtime friend, but even more importantly, he’s a guy with a lot of hockey knowledge from years of experience,” said Stars' owner Steve Fournier. “And he is in tune with the college hockey community. He has all the credentials you want for that position and then some.”

Palumbo, who inherits a club already faring well in terms of collegiate placement – seven current or former North Stars are in college or have NCAA Division I college commitments (Steven Oleksy, LSSU; Patrick Nagorsen and Travis Paeth, Western Michigan; Eric Elmblad, Michigan; Danny Dries, New Hampshire; Anthony Schooley, Michigan Tech; Kory Kaunisto, Northern Michigan) after just two years – would like to transform the franchise into a collegiate turnstile.

“A lot of the guys I played with and against are now Division I coaches,” Palumbo explained. “We want every kid that walks through the doors of Centre ICE to play for the North Stars to be here to go after the (college) scholarships hard, and that’s the ideal setting for winning in the NAHL and even more importantly, in life.”

Palumbo, who led TC West to 40 wins in the past two seasons and the school’s first-ever Big North Conference hockey title, will begin his player evaluations this week in preparation for the weekend’s tryout camp at Centre ICE arena and the May 22 North American Hockey League entry draft. The camp, which runs from Friday-Sunday, culminates with the invite-only Blue & White Game on Sunday morning at 10 a.m.

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