Sunday, July 25, 2010

North Stars look for big year from Amin

Traverse City North Stars forward Ryan Amin climbed over the boards and onto the ice for the Blue Team during the first half of Saturday’s training camp showdown with the White Team. He immediately skated into a passing lane, swiped the puck and headed up ice, leading a 3-on-1 break that nearly resulted in a goal.

After an exchange of possession, Amin chased an opponent into the corner, delivered a dasher-rattling body check, and dug out the puck.

Traverse City head coach-GM Anthony Palumbo hopes that shift will be a microcosm of the upcoming season for the Canton product.

“Ryan’s an excellent two-way player,” Palumbo said. “He’s very good on the offensive end and he’s really becoming a shutdown guy in the defensive zone. We’re looking for big things from Ryan this year to say the least.”

Amin signed a tender with Palumbo to play for Traverse City back in December 2007 and played 13 games with the North Stars in 2008 before a trade sent him to Wichita Falls. He opened 2009-10 with the Kenai River Brown Bears before Palumbo pulled the trigger on a three-way deal that brought Amin back to northwest Michigan.

“At the time, I felt like I was ready for a bigger role, to make bigger contributions and we had a pretty stacked roster in TC,” said Amin, who played in 29 games this season with the Stars after being re-acquired. “We kind of agreed that I’d see more ice time on another team. To be honest, it’s nice to be back here – the town, the fans, the organization – but I did get to see some other pretty cool parts of the country and do it while playing hockey. I have no complaints about any of it, it’s been a good experience.”

Amin registered a trio of goals to go with five assists in his most recent stint with Traverse City and played 41 contests overall in 2009-10. He bagged the game-winner at Alpena on Feb. 9, but tore his groin muscle late in the regular season and did not see action in TC’s Robertson Cup playoff chase.

“It was a great playoff run, but at the same time it was pretty hard to be out of the lineup,” he explained. “You want to be in there contributing. Of course the team goals are to get to the playoffs and advance again this year and it’s especially important to me having some unfinished business there.”

While not necessarily an imposing figure at first glance at 5-foot-11 and nearly 200 pounds, Amin is rock solid. A self-admitted workout fanatic, the power forward hopes to one day turn his passion for fitness into a career in kinesiology or exercise science.

“Ryan takes very, very good care of himself,” Palumbo added. “And it’s shows when he’s on the ice. He goes about his business in a quiet but very professional manner. He’s such an important part of this team, really for all the same reasons we tendered him the first time. He’s a leader on and off the ice. He leads by example, his teammates love him, and we’re really looking to Ryan to be a key contributor.”

Amin, for one, accepts the mantle of ‘veteran’ with open arms.

“Of course everybody wants to do well personally, but this is a team game,” he pointed out. “And the guys who have been here, been around, have a certain responsibility to pass on the things to the new guys that will help lead to team success. Guys let me know what was expected and what it took to do well at this level when I came into the league from midget majors. Now it’s our turn to try to do the same.”

Amin and the rest of the weekend campers will wrap up the North Stars’ annual training camp with Sunday morning’s Blue & White all-star game. Following that contest, Palumbo and his staff will select the 2010-11 roster from a group that includes returning veterans, draft picks, tenders, and the top talent from a summer of tryout camps.

Photo by John L. Russell/Great Lakes Images

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