Posted by Sports Reporter Antoine Pitts
August 06, 2007 16:03PM
Everyone had a lot to say at this weekend's alumni hockey gathering.
Here's some news and notes to give you a flavor of what went on:
--- Michigan coach Red Berenson continues to pull together the most regular alumni outing of any program at the University of Michigan. He credits his administrative assistant Josh Richelew for doing the work to keep it going.
More than 200 golfers, playing in morning and afternoon shotguns, took their swings Saturday at the U-M Golf Course. The evening prior, many of them played in three alumni games in front of about 2,000 fans at Yost Ice Arena before heading to reception afterward.
That's a lot of people with other commitments in their lives planning one summer weekend to make sure their regularly coming back to Ann Arbor to re-connnect with their former coaches and teammates. Some came from as far away as Florida and British Columbia.
At the reception in the Junge Family Champions Center players of all generations - along with their parents, wives and children, in some cases - were able to catch up.
Berenson began the golf outing soon after he was hired in 1984 and drew a couple dozen devotees for the first one. It's grown exponentially since.
The alumni games, giving everyone who's in town a chance to do something Friday night, began about a decade ago.
Andrew Ebbett, captain of the 2006 team, said the milestone dates he was looking forward to during his first pro hockey season were: Christmas, the end of the season and the U-M alumni weekend.
The players aren't the only ones who get a big kick out of coming back: classmates Brian Wiseman, Cam Stewart, David Oliver and Mike Stone, who played at U-M in the early 1990s, all brought their parents. The posed for a photograph on the ice together Friday night.
--- Michigan's most recent graduating seniors enjoyed their final hurrah together in Ann Arbor before heading separate ways for pro hockey.
T.J. Hensick (Colorado Avalanche), Matt Hunwick (Boston Bruins) and David Rohlfs (Edmonton Oilers) have signed over the summer with the NHL teams that drafted them several years ago.
Where they end up - whether with the parent club or with its American Hockey League affiliate - depends on how things go in training camp.
Hensick was due to drive to Denver this week to continue getting ready for camp, which begins in early September. Rohlfs knows he'll be heading to the northernmost training camp of any North America sports team in Yelllowknife, Northwest Territories - not far from the Arctic Circle.
Bound for the East Coast Hockey League, which is one rung below the AHL, are Jason Dest (Las Vegas Wranglers) and Tim Cook (Texas Wildcatters, which play in Beaumont).
There isn't a lot a of money in the ECHL, but it's a chance to continue playing and prolong the dream of advancing to the NHL as over 300 players have done so from that league.
Several recent Michigan players have given the ECHL a try for a year or two before deciding to pursue jobs outside of hockey.
Cook, Dest, Hensick, Hunwick and Rohlfs played in Friday's alumni game and played together as a group in Saturday's golf outing. But after a long day Saturday, only the two most-serious golfers, Hensick and Rohlfs, were left playing.
--- Rohlfs had the shot of the scramble - at least witnessed by me - on his final swing of the day.
With his second shot on the par-5 No. 1 hole, Rohlfs had 189 years to go. His ball bounced between the narrow opening between two bunkers in front of the green, clipped the flag stick and dropped into the hole for a double-eagle!
--- New inductees into the Dekers Club Hall of Fame during the weekend included:
Mike Knuble, who is currently with the Philadelphia Flyers and is the oldest active former Wolverine in the NHL at 35. He's played 10 seasons in the NHL with Detroit, the New York Rangers, Boston and now Philadelphia.
Steven Halko, who captained the 1996 NCAA championship and played six seasons in the NHL after graduating, all with the Carolina Hurricanes. He currently makes his home in the Research Triangle area.
Mickey Grant, a devoted fan who has regularly followed the Wolverines home and away whenever possible for years. Her husband Wally was a three-time All-America for the Wolverines. They have endowed the Mickey and Wally Grant Scholarship for Hockey.