Tuesday, August 28, 2012

No place like home for Hounds' Passino

Matt Passino should be pretty familiar with the Hartland Hounds’ coaching staff this season.

After all, he played for head coach Randy Montrose and assistants Gordie Meisel and Marty Passino (his father) last year at Howell High School and is well aware of what is expected once he steps on the ice and how he is to conduct himself off the ice.

Just 16, Passino had the opportunity to play Midget AAA hockey this season or venture to Ontario to play for the LaSalle Vipers of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League. In the end, he went where he was most comfortable and that was to the Hounds.

“When the chance came to play for this coaching staff, I decided that this would be the best place to win a championship,” said Passino, who transitioned from defense to forward last year. “Last season was my first season playing varsity and it was probably the best season for me in hockey. I think the transition from high school to juniors should be easy because Randy coached us as if we were in a junior environment.”

“Matt is like a sponge,” said Montrose. “He absorbs everything and never has any complaints. We asked him to move from defense to forward and he did it seamlessly. He may only be 16, but his maturity level is through the roof. He’ll be an exciting kid to watch develop this year for us.”

Passino, who said he models his game after Detroit Red Wings’ star forward Henrik Zetterberg because he “can forecheck hard and be an asset to the team like him,” obviously wants to bring the Veteran’s Memorial Cup to Hartland, but has other goals in mind as well.

“I just want to work hard to be faster and get better at putting the puck in the net – pretty much just become an all-around asset to the team,” Passino said. “My short-term goal is to get a harder shot and hit more and my long-term goal would to be an asset to the team on the power play and penalty kill.

“I think the team will do very well this season. We have a great group of guys on the team.”

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