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.”

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