Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Muskegon adds new staff member to team

The Muskegon Lumberjacks have announced that Joe Abdelkader has been added to the team’s front office staff as housing and academic coordinator.

The father of Detroit Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader, who played in the USHL before heading to Michigan State, Joe Abdelkader brings his experience as a longtime local educator and hockey dad to the Lumberjacks.

“Joe is a perfect fit for our organization,” said Lumberjacks president/COO Tim Taylor. “He has limitless energy and is very passionate about what we’re doing. He wants to further our efforts in building one of the best junior programs in hockey.”

As a teacher in the Reeths-Puffer school system for 35 years, Abdelkader augmented his decades in area classrooms with various stints coaching sports teams, including middle-school tennis and golf squads.

But with a son in the NHL, hockey has been at the epicenter of the Abdelkader family and it will be even more now.

“Our whole life revolves around hockey,” Abdelkader said. “I’m excited to get started and see what we can improve in the off-ice department. Hopefully, we can help in building a championship organization.”

The Abdelkaders certainly know winning, as Justin claimed a Clark Cup title with Cedar Rapids in 2005, won the NCAA national championship with Michigan State two years later and then hoisted the Stanley Cup the following season, his rookie year with the Red Wings.

“Justin has said that he probably wouldn’t have gotten to where he is without the USHL and our family agrees,” Abdelkader said. “The level of play is on par with college hockey and our family was impressed with the league years ago. I’m thrilled to get involved.”

Abdelkader will manage the relationships between Lumberjacks players, their host families (“billets”) and Mona Shores High School, which has a partnership with the team to educate its school-age skaters. Among other duties, he will coordinate study sessions, keep host families aware of the team schedule and keep players’ families active in their sons’ development.

“Joe brings good ideas on how to keep lines of communications open among players, their families and our billets,” Taylor said. “Add in the education aspect, and Joe will be directing two very important pieces of our organization.”

No comments: