Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Jets' Reid hangs up skates, going to WMU

Just when Adam Reid thought he couldn’t catch a break, he did.

After the steady defenseman played last season for the Metro Jets of the North American 3 Hockey League, he had planned on moving up to the North American Hockey League with the New Mexico Mustangs, the team that signed him to a tender contract midway through last season.

Then this offseason, the Mustangs folded.

No worries. Reid attended a handful of other NAHL camps and was weighing several offers.

Then his doctor wouldn’t clear him to play hockey after a series of concussions in a short window of time left him as a player who was one hit away from not living a pain-free life.

With his skates hung up, Reid decided to enroll at Western Michigan University on a full-time basis and on a whim, landed himself a job working with the Broncos’ Division I hockey team.

“You can’t beat working with (WMU coach and longtime NHL coach) Andy Murray,” said Reid, who recorded two goals and nine points in 45 games last season with the Jets. “It’s hard to be done playing competitive hockey, but at least I’m staying involved. I’m looking forward to it.”

Reid will also stay on with the Jets in a special projects capacity.

Reid, originally from Kalamazoo, lived in Texas the better part of the last 14 years after his father’s job uprooted the family. He sat out all but four games of the 2010-11 season with concussion issues, but came to the Jets last year and was one of the team’s more consistent stay-at-home defenders.

“Last season was probably the most fun I’ve had playing hockey,” said the 20-year-old Reid. “The guys on the team were close, almost like brothers. I learned so much from (Jets head coach) Jason (Cirone) and I wouldn’t trade last year for anything. Things happen for a reason and even if I can’t keep playing hockey, I’m glad the opportunity came up at Western where I can still be around the game and get a great education.

“Above all, thank you to my wonderful parents, who ensured I had every opportunity to try and succeed. I am reminded of how special this game is, the colossal impact it has had on me in my life and how fortunate I was to step onto that ice for the last 16 years.”

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Homegrown Bodziak ready for Hounds

Zak Bodziak grew up skating out of the Hartland Sports Center and can’t wait to get back on the ice in his hometown.

Bodziak, a signed tender of the Hartland Hounds, graduated from Hartland High School in 2011 and played four years for the hockey team there. After taking the college route last year at Davenport University, where Bodziak played club hockey, the 19-year-old forward is looking forward to playing for the Hounds in the brand-new Midwest Junior Hockey League this fall.

“When I heard there was going to be a junior team in Hartland, I was immediately excited,” said Bodziak. “I always wanted to play juniors, but right out of high school, I went to college, which wasn’t a bad choice, but now that this opportunity in Hartland has come up, I think it’s an excellent situation for people in Hartland and the area to come out and see a new level of hockey.

“A lot of people only watch hockey up to Bantams and Midgets and even high school, but Junior A hockey is a very high level and I think we’ll have a very exciting team this season.”

Playing for Hounds coach Randy Montrose, who guided Howell High School to two straight state finals appearances in 2009 and 2010 and moved numerous players to junior and college hockey, was also an enticing factor for Bodziak to see what the MWJHL is all about.

“I definitely have a lot of respect for Randy and I think his track record speaks for itself,” Bodziak said. “He’s a guy that from what I’ve seen and heard is someone I can trust and someone who understands the game at this level. I played against his Howell teams in high school and he always had those guys ready to go. I’m excited to get the season going.”

Having already played a year of college hockey, Bodziak is hoping to use the Hounds as a spring-board to future college hockey opportunities.

“My ultimate goal, much like everyone else’s goal, is to go to school and play competitive hockey,” explained Bodziak. “I’m not looking for any huge offers to come my way this season. I just want to go out and play hockey, play my game, and if I play the way I know I can play and put up some decent numbers, I think the college offers will take care of themselves.”

Aside from points this coming season, Bodziak wants to be a leader with the Hounds and perhaps serve as a mentor for some of the younger players on the team.

“I already know a couple guys on the team and I don’t see chemistry being a problem – we should come together pretty quickly,” Bodziak said. “I’ve been fortunate to be a captain on teams in the past and I feel that I’ve learned and grown from those experiences and I can come in here and be a guy people can come to with problems or advice or things like that.

“I think being a leader comes with pressure, but I like that pressure. To be honest, I don’t see it as pressure, but more as motivation to go out and get the job done. We’ll see what happens, but I’m definitely excited.”

Bodziak said that even with him being “a little bit of a stats guy,” he’d gladly sacrifice personal glory if it means more notches in the win column for the Hounds.

“Winning hockey games is what it’s all about and why we play this game,” said Bodziak. “Yeah, I’d like to be at the top of the list getting points for my team, but every shift, I’m giving 120 percent, blocking shots, doing whatever it takes to help the team win.

“We should have a pretty good team this year and it’s one I think can compete for a national championship. Once this team comes together, I think we’ll be tough to play against and one that can hopefully be at the top of the MWJHL standings.”

Monday, July 23, 2012

Lumberjacks unveil new team logo

The Muskegon Lumberjacks have announced the debut of a new primary logo.

The freshly-created mark will be implemented immediately.

The new design centers around the award-winning logo introduced by the IHL Lumberjacks in 2008 and used by the third-year USHL club throughout its existence.

While the recognizable stylized lumberjack is in the center of the new logo, the outer edge is a modified version of the popular “saw blade” design the team revealed last season. In the new primary logo, the lumberjack replaces the italicized ‘M’ in the middle of the blade.

“As an organization, we have worked extremely hard to maintain a brand our community can associate with and be proud of,” said Lumberjacks president Tim Taylor. “Therefore, it was important to maintain the lumberjack figure while introducing the saw blade design into the primary mark.”

The logo will be put to use on official Lumberjacks merchandise and will be emblematic of the franchise as it looks toward its third season in the USHL.

“The saw blade design received such an overwhelmingly positive response when it was introduced as our secondary logo last season that we felt it had to become part of our primary mark,” Taylor said.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Belle Tire U-16 stud Perlini chooses OHL

The Barrie Colts announced on Thursday that they have signed forward Brendan Perlini to an Ontario Hockey League contract.

“It’s very exciting for me and my family," said Perlini. "It's such a big deal for us to be part of the Barrie Colts organization.”

The Colts selected the forward with the 16th overall pick in the 2012 OHL Priority Selection.

“We are extremely excited about Brendan joining the organization,” said Barrie GM Jason Ford. “He is a player that brings a tremendous skill-set. He is one of the strongest skaters for his age group and has exceptional puck skills and hockey sense.”

Last season Perlini, a Shelby Township native who moved a year ago from his Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., home, notched 44 points in 40 games for the Detroit Belle Tire U16’s, and said he will be ready for training camp.

“Well I want to come in fully prepared for training camp and really show the coaches what I can do,” said Perlini. "I think with my skating and puck-handling abilities I will have a lot to offer the team."

Earlier this month, Perlini attended Team Ontario's Under-17 provincial camp.

“Under-17 was such a great experience for me,” acknowledged Perlini. “I got to play with a lot of great players and it really helped my development to see how other players handle themselves on and off the ice.”

“We feel Brendan has just scratched the surface as to what he can be as a hockey player,” added Ford. “We are very pleased today that Brendan has made this commitment.”

Friday, July 20, 2012

Spirit inks second import pick in Alexeev

The Saginaw Spirit announced today that the team has signed Russian-born forward Andrey Alexeev to a standard Ontario Hockey League contract.

The 1995-born left winger was selected by the Spirit as the 33rd overall pick in the 2012 CHL Import Draft.

Alexeev follows fellow countryman and import selection goaltender Nikita Serebryakov in committing to the Spirit program this week, joining OHL Priority Selection picks Jeremiah Addison, Brandon Prophet and Dylan Sadowy as signed prospects for Saginaw.

Having participated in a number of national team events, Alexeev was also a teammate of Serebryakov for Team Russia in the 2011 Four Nations Tournament where he was one of the team’s top scorers.

Alexeev and Serebryakov were both chosen in the second round of the most recent KHL Draft.

Alexeev is expected to be in attendance when the Spirit open their 2012-13 season training camp in late August.

Cohos open inaugural MWJHL camp

The pursuit of hockey hardware by the bay begins in earnest again on Friday as the Traverse City Cohos kick off their inaugural open camp at Centre ICE Arena.

The first-year Cohos are expecting better than 30 players from around the area, state and Midwest, as head coach Scott Gardiner begins to sculpt the roster.

“We have some outstanding players already signed, but we’re still looking for quite a few as well,” Gardiner explained. “It’s exciting to finally get to the on-ice stuff, get the coaches and scouts together and have a look at the talent. There are still quite a few USHL and NAHL camps going on, so it’ll be an ongoing process, but these camps are indispensable in terms of finding the best players to send out there when the season opens.”

Players will check in on Friday afternoon before the opening session at Centre ICE from 7-9 p.m. The teams will face off again on Saturday from 8-10 a.m. and 3-5 p.m. Gardiner and staff will conduct player interviews following the afternoon session on Saturday.

“We hope to have a few more guys signed, and continue to expand our reach and continue the process beyond that,” Gardiner added.

Flint captain Lay makes D-III choice

The Flint Jr. Generals of the NA3HL have announced that captain Andrew Lay is taking his talents to Wisconsin to Lawrence University and will play for the Vikings next year.

“Andy was a coach’s dream as a leader in the locker room and on the ice," said Flint coach Jeff Worlton. "He also takes pride in his substantial development at both ends of the ice."

"Andy being our local product makes the Flint area proud also," added Flint GM Kelly Cronk.

Lay was very humble when discussing his latest accomplishment.

"None of this would be possible without the solid support from my dad, Greg, and mom, Helene," said Lay. "(Lawrence coach) Mike Szkodzinski and (assistant coach) Kalle Larsson made the transitions required easy at this beautiful school. Not to mention the action-packed rivalry I witnessed between Adrian and Lawrence and the level of play just made me even more excited to get to work.

"The hockey program and the high levels of academics also stands out on my visit, which was a must for me and my parents."

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Metro pick Tilford has tools to succeed

Mike Tilford was the lone goaltender drafted by the Metro Jets in last month’s North American 3 Hockey League draft and while the Traverse City native still has no idea where he’ll play next season, the door is wide open for him to hone his skills in Waterford.

Tilford was a Second Team All-State player in 2011-12 at Traverse City West High School and was selected by the Jets in the 11th round (182nd overall).

“From a personal standpoint, I had a very good season and earned a couple awards,” said Tilford. “From a team standpoint, it was not real successful. We were an extremely young team and lost in the first round of the playoffs.”

Randy Wilson and Sean Clark recommended Tilford to us and one thing that Randy said is that the kid blocks pucks,” said Metro coach Jason Cirone. “That’s a good thing for a goalie, right? He’ll have a shot to play in the NAHL, but if you look at our track record in moving goalies on, I think he’d be a good fit as a Metro Jet.”

On NA3HL draft day, Tilford was shocked to see his name come up on the screen during the online draft process.

”I have worked with Randy (Wilson) in the past, but I was unaware the Jets were looking at drafting me,” Tilford said. “I do not know very much about the Jets at all and to be honest, all I really know about the NA3HL is that it is a good stepping stone for the NAHL.”

Traverse City West is the home of former Jets’ first-round pick Vinnie Pietrangelo, who played on the back end in Waterford during the 2009-10 season and will be a junior at Finlandia University this fall.

 “I know Vinnie a little, mostly just from playing with him at drop-in and such,” added Tilford.

This fall, Tilford has an option to play Midget AAA hockey with the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies, but knows that where he skates for the 2012-13 season is still up in the air at this point of the summer.

“My expectations for next year, wherever I may end up, are that I have a successful season,” said Tilford. “I also want to gain exposure from NAHL and USHL teams.”

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Saginaw signs Russian goalie Serebryakov

The Saginaw Spirit announced today that the team has signed Russian-born goaltender Nikita Serebryakov to a standard Ontario Hockey League contract.

The 1995-born native of Moscow was selected 18th overall in the 2012 CHL Import Draft after spending this past season with the Moscow Dynamo junior program.

Serebryakov was also selected in the recent KHL Draft in the second round by the Moscow Dynamo.

Serebryakov was a standout at the 2012 World Under-17 Challenge in leading Russia to the gold medal at the tournament staged in Windsor, Ont. In five games at the event, he posted five wins, a goals-against average of 2.72 and a save percentage of .930.

Serebryakov is expected to be in attendance when the Spirit open their 2012-13 training camp in late August.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Falcons' Megariotis off to Ohio State

Port Huron Fighting Falcons' goaltender Peter Megariotis will play Division I hockey after all.

According to Randy Russon at JuniorHockey.com, Megariotis is off to Ohio State this fall after originally looking at playing Division III puck at Adrian.

More here: Port Huron to Ohio State

Photo/Krista Ketterer

Saturday, July 14, 2012

K-Zoo captain Leone chooses Adrian

The Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings have announced that forward and captain Chris Leone has committed to play collegiate hockey at Adrian College.

Last season with the Jr. K-Wings, Leone registered 28 points (four goals, 24 assists) and had a plus/minus rating of plus-12 in 59 games.

Keeping his scoring prowess in the NAHL playoffs, Leone notched six points (goal, five assists) in eight postseason contests.

Leone is now the seventh Jr. K-Wing who has committed to play hockey at the college level. The defenseman joins Alex Brooks (Wisconsin-Stevens Point), Austin Hervey (Western Michigan), Drew Graves (Wisconsin-Stevens Point), Ken MacLean (Rochester Institute of Technology), Chad McDonald (Ferris State) and Brock Raffaele (Bethel).

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Warriors' trio makes D-III hockey plans

Three more players from the Michigan Warriors of the North American Hockey League have been offered scholarships to play Division III college hockey.

The team announced recently that forward Bobby Bodette will play for Adrian College, defenseman Ben Gislason will play for St. Olaf College and defenseman Derek Knetter will play for the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Warriors alumni who will play for NCAA Division I programs this fall include forward Justin Hoomaian (Michigan State), defenseman Michael Szuma (Michigan), goaltender Robert Tadazak (Army), defenseman Ryan Trenz (Northern Michigan) and defenseman A.J. White (Massachusetts-Lowell).

Bodette (‘91), of Garden, played 106 games with the Warriors and tallied 11 goals and 19 assists for a total of 30 points. He helped the Warriors advance to play for an NAHL championship in 2011.

Knetter (‘92), of Wausau, Wis., played in 33 games with the Warriors and tallied a goal and five assists for a total of six points. He competed in the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament in Troy earlier this year.

Gislason (‘91), of Burnsville, Minn., played in 44 games with the Warriors tallying three goals and two assists for a total of five points.

“Michigan Warriors hockey is all about helping promising young players like Bobby, Ben and Derek take their skills to the next level, which for many means playing college hockey,” said Warriors head coach Moe Mantha. “The effort these guys put in to develop their skills on the ice and to keep their grades up is incredible. The Warriors organization is proud to see them earn a chance to continue their careers.”

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Jets' Hillman looking for expanded role

Trevor Hillman only played four games for the Metro Jets last year, but should have a bigger role this upcoming season.

Hillman, the Jets’ top draft pick (third overall) in the 2011 North American 3 Hockey League draft, signed a tender to return to Waterford next season. He also has the option of playing midget hockey for Compuware, but junior hockey with Metro is where Hillman feels he can most improve his overall game.

“I didn’t have to really put much thought into signing the tender,” said Hillman, an 18-year-old from Beverly Hills. “I played games with the team last year, so I knew they had a winning mindset. Having some of the defense from last year leaving the team means I could step up this year and be the shutdown defenseman they look to in all situations.”

Even after making the jump from AAA hockey with the Detroit Falcons (pictured) to the Jets a year ago, Hillman realized it can take some time to adjust to the new style of game.

 “I learned there is a big difference,” said Hillman, who tallied two assists in his time with the Jets in 2011-12. “The size of the guys and their skill and speed is all a big step up. I just have to continue training and working on my game for the upcoming season. Last year was a good experience for me. (Jets’ head coach) Jason (Cirone) taught me a lot and so did a lot of the older guys.”

Recently, the NA3HL has sent numerous players on to higher levels of hockey, including the United States Hockey League, North American Hockey League and even college hockey.

Hillman wants his name on that list a year from now.

”My expectations for me are what all kids want, to just keep moving up the junior ranks into the USHL,” said Hillman. “Personally, it’s always been a dream of mine to play in the Ontario Hockey League someday.”

As for what he has listed as goals for next season, Hillman is succinct.

“From a team standpoint, I’m hoping to win a lot of games,” said Hillman, “And win a championship.”

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Tennyson staff involved in community

The Tennyson Chevrolet junior hockey club is wasting no time having its presence felt in the community.

Shortly after making the announcement that the team would be making the Ice Box Sports Center their home, general manager Dan Vasquez and team president Keith Lang announced affiliations with Midget, Bantam and Mite programs in the area.

“We don't take the word ‘affiliation’ lightly,” stated Lang. “Our staff and players are going to be part of these teams’ development and instruction process both on ice and off ice. We believe that we have a responsibility to be mentors and examples. Our goal is to create a self-cycling system that will create a development system of training, mentoring and support for children of all ages, but the emphasis of the program is not just about hockey; it's about school and giving all of the kids in the area a sense of community."

Teams that have been selected as affiliated programs thus far include the Hurricanes Midget A Hockey Club, Motor City Machine Bantam AA Hockey Club and the Tennyson Chevrolet Mites.

 In addition, the club also is involved in the “Learn to Skate” and “Learn to Play Hockey” programs that began its summer session this past week at the Ice Box. The program, which takes place Thursday evenings, is open to any beginner who wishes to learn to skate and learn the basics of playing hockey. The program is being headed up by the Tennyson coaching staff and several of the team’s players.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

'Jacks announce roster, affiliate list

Following June’s tryout camp at L.C. Walker Arena, the Muskegon Lumberjacks were forced to make difficult decisions.

Those choices have been made, resulting in the following initial roster, plus affiliate list players who can be added to the roster at any time.

The Lumberjacks will now head into training camp in late August, after which they will begin their third season in the United States Hockey League.

The following players are sorted by position and in alphabetical order:

Tyler Ross, Warren
Hayden Stewart, Rockford, Ill.

Rasmus Bengtsson, Landskrona, Sweden (FLA 2011)
Jack Burton, Reisertown, Md.
Carter Foguth, Fenton
Niklas Folin, Goteborg, Sweden
Patrick Koudys, Smithville, Ont. (WAS 2011)
Chris Leibinger, Saginaw (Michigan Tech recruit)
Mike Preston, Carmel, Ind.
Ben Storm, Calumet
Zach Yoder, Woodstock, Ga.

Riley Alferd, Vancouver, Wash.
Joe Cox, Chelsea (Michigan State recruit)
Brett D’Andrea, Marysville (Bowling Green recruit)
Brandon Flood, Okemos
Ben Foster, Darien, Conn. (Princeton recruit)
Adam Gilmour, Hanover, Mass. (Boston College recruit/MIN 2012)
Tyler Heinonen, Delano, Minn. (Michigan Tech recruit)
Tyler Hill, Hagersville, Ont.
Cullen Hurley, Eagan, Minn.
Mason Jobst, Speedway, Ind.
Chad McDonald, Battle Creek (Ferris State recruit)
William Messa, Parkland, Fla.
Max Shuart, Northville (Michigan recruit)
Alex Talcott, Kentwood (Michigan recruit)
Frederik Tiffels, Cologne, Germany

The affiliate list consists of New York Islanders' draft pick Doyle Somerby, Minnesota recruit Mike Brodzinski and Western Michigan commit Corey Schueneman, plus Dylan Malmquist, Connor Hurley, Conor Garland, Chase Phelps, John Peterson, Steven Spinner, Corey Ronan, Luc Snuggerud, Tristan Rostagno and Jack Dougherty.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Familiar face back in Traverse City

The newest addition to the Traverse City Cohos sports a familiar visage.

Jake Erway, a former Traverse City Central High School star who later played for the Traverse City Enforcers and Traverse City North Stars junior teams, has joined the Cohos as an assistant coach and account executive.

Erway, who recently returned to the area after living in Chicago for the past few years while attending Columbia College, says hockey was a motivating factor in his homecoming.

“I didn’t have any contact with hockey while I was in Chicago and I really wanted to get back in the game and start coaching,” said Erway, 26. “I thought I’d be starting at the youth level, but when I heard (Cohos owner and head coach) Scott (Gardiner) had a junior team up here, it presented a unique opportunity.”

Erway, a two-time all-region selection at TC Central, captained the Trojans for two seasons before joining the Enforcers of the Continental Elite Hockey League. He appeared in 11 games for the Enforcers in 2003-04, registered 11 goals and 25 points over 33 games with the Blind River Beavers of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League the following season, and wrapped his junior career with the North Stars in 2005-06, collecting eight goals and assisting on 18 others in 48 contests.

“Jake was a solid guy on the ice, in the locker room and in the community,” said Gardiner, who coached Erway during both TC junior stints. “Players that have his kind of make-up usually get into coaching and are successful at teaching and managing the game from behind the bench as well. It’s a real boon for us to be able to bring Jake into the fold. He brings a lot of great qualities to the organization.”

While Erway will get to start his coaching career at the Junior A level, he says that his experiences as a player lend valuable insights while behind the proverbial bench.

“I always tried to be a student of the game and learn all I could,” he explained. “What I may not have had in the way of raw talent, I always tried to make up for by working hard and playing a smart game. Hopefully, I can help instill some of that – helping guys develop on the ice as players and off the ice as human beings. One thing about having played for Scott is that I learned a lot about the game from him, but just as important is what we learned from him about being a good human being. Those are things I’ll strive to pass along as well.”

The Cohos will kick off their inaugural tryout camp July 20-21 at Centre ICE Arena. Gardiner, along with assistant coaches Jacek Wilk and Erway – along with the club’s network of scouts – will evaluate players as they go head-to-head in an attempt to be among the first to don the Cohos sweaters.

“It’s a chance for us to find guys who can develop and grow to move on to the next level, whether that’s juniors, college, or wherever,” Erway added. “We’re all pretty excited to get started.”

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Jets' top pick Gambino a proven winner

The Metro Jets had the 11th overall pick in the North American 3 Hockey League draft back on June 5, but couldn’t wait 10 picks to make their first selection.

Instead, the Jets made a draft day trade with the Quad City Jr. Flames to move up to No. 5 and with that pick, Metro grabbed Livonia Churchill High School forward Mike Gambino.

 “We didn’t think Gambino would be there when we picked at No. 11 and he was the player we wanted,” said Jets’ coach Jason Cirone. “He’s highly-skilled and came from the same high school program (Metro top scorer from 2011-12) Steve Klisz came from a year ago. I saw him play a couple times and I think he could play in the North American Hockey League next season, but if not, he’ll have options with us and we’ll certainly do all we can to move him, as well as the rest of our players, to the next level.”

“It is a great honor to be drafted fifth by the Metro Jets,” said a humble Gambino, a Second Team All-State pick in 2011-12. “I was really surprised when I saw I went that early. To be honest, I don’t know much about the league itself, but I have heard that the Metro Jets is a great organization and has an awesome coach in Jason Cirone. Before the draft, my dad and I talked to Steve Klisz’s dad about the league and he helped us out in giving us some information.”

In minor hockey, Gambino twice went to the state tournament (Livonia Knights Pee Wee and Livonia Flyers Bantam) and won back-to-back regional titles at Churchill in 2011 and 2012. He also played in the prestigious State Games in 2011, winning gold. This past spring, Gambino skated with Team Michigan where he was part of the championship-winning team at the CCM NIT in Minnesota.

Admittedly, Gambino has his sights on playing in the NAHL this fall and as Cirone said, the talent level is certainly there.

"I would describe myself as a two-way forward,” Gambino said. “I know how to put up points, but I love to hit and play a very physical game. My main goal is to play in the NAHL, so that’s what I am focusing on right now. I haven’t really thought about what I would do if I didn’t make an NAHL team, so we’ll see how everything works out.

“Wherever I wind up, I would like to be a first- or second-line player with some special teams’ opportunities.”