Page 12 - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, January 12, 1989
'C ~ ,
BY ADAM SCHEFTER
corners, fought in front of the net,
and tried. He really tried.
And all he could do was score
two goals. But you can bet they
meant a lot. He remember his first
Michigan goal the way you would
remember your first kiss.
"It was December 5, 1987,"
Jaffe said without blinking an
eyelash. "Second period. Slap shot
from the hash-mark of the right
circle. The goaltender was Sandy
Galuppo, an old teammate from
While his first season was not a
glamorous one, he had hope for this
year. He thought things would be
In case you didn't hear, Mich-
igan right wing Billy Jaffe quit the
hockey team over vacation.
December 24 to be exact.
Jaffe, a sophomore, isn't the
most well-known athlete on
campus. He only had one goal this
season. He played on the fourth
line. And he saw action in just 13
of the team's 20 games. But when
Jaffe quit, it meant more than not
competing. It meant bidding fare-
well to a sport that has consumed
his life for the past 16 years.
The game was no longer fun, he
said. He had to think about his
career. Be a "real" college student.
No more hockey.
That's it? That's it.
To put Jaffe's decision into
perspective, think about the last
time you had to say goodbye to a
girlfriend or boyfriend. Or walked
away from something you loved. It
was pretty tough, wasn't it?
HOCKEY was Jaffe's love. He
remembers sitting in front of the
television, mesmerized, watching
the NHL Game-of-the-Week, telling
his parents that he, too, wanted to
be a hockey player.
So Jaffe's father, Mickey, took
him down to a half-sized rink in
Highland Park, Ill., and paid the
instructor, Wally Kormylo, to teach
his boy power-skating. Billy was
only three at the time and the first
time he hit the ice, he HIT the ice.
He ran off crying.
"I couldn't stand it," Jaffe
recalled. "And when I came off the
ice, my dad grabbed me and said,
'No son of mine will quit on his
first try. Now go finish your
session.' I had no choice."
Three weeks ago Jaffe had a
choice. He decided to hang up the
AS A TODDLER, without a
choice, Jaffe got back on the ice to
finish his first, of what would be
many, laps around the ice. He
came to like it so much that he
joined the house league for two
years. He dominated, leading his
team in scoring his second season.
And Jaffe still remembers that
year. "I still have the trophy for
that season," he said with a soft
But there will be no more
trophies. Not from hockey at least.
He moved on to the next level.
Traveling with the Highland Park
Leafs, one of the top teams in
Illinois, Jaffe was the leading scorer
again. Then up another notch, to
Triple A with the Chicago Young
Americans. Jaffe took scoring
honors there also.
But there was a price that Jaffe
paid for his success. He didn't have
time to spend with his friends in
high school. He missed out on
those touch-football games after
school, the Friday night dates to the
movies. He had to. He had hockey
practice during the week. Games on
the weekend. And being a kid and
having fun wasn't nearly as
important as scoring a goal or
winning a game.
HIS CAREER was so im-
portant that he left home his senior
year in high school to play hockey
at Kent Prep School in Con-
necticut. He felt the move was
necessary to play college hockey -
his lifelong goal.
He even scored four goals in his
first game at Kent. What a feeling!
"My greatest thrill in hockey," he
And his journey out East
became worthwhile. College re-
cruiters began calling. Brown. Yale.
Vermont. But he chose Michigan.
Academic and athletic excellence
were the reasons he gave. He was
going to share with Michigan all he
had ever worked for.
IN HIS first year, for the first
time since he was three, he failed to
lead his team in scoring. He didn't
even play in half of the team's
games. But he never complained.
He just showed up for practice
every day, dug for the puck in the
whole life for. It takes a while to
adjust to a different lifestyle. So
during the afternoon, Jaffe would
spend time with his girlfriend.
Work out. Go to the intramural
building to play basketball.
ONCE, while he was there, he
saw Stacey Katlin, a catcher on
Michigan's baseball team. After
playing a few points, Katlin finally
discovered something wasn't right.
"Hey, don't you have hockey
practice today?" Katlin asked.
Jaffe hesitated. He didn't know
what to say.
"I'm taking some time off," he
said, lowering his voice.
There was the time off over
different dream about hockey each
night. Think that says something?
On New Year's Eve, while he
was in Florida, he called to
congratulate his teammates on
winning the Great Lakes Invita-
"When I spoke to him, he
sounded happy," said Todd
Copeland, one of Jaffe's closest
friends. "But you knew he missed
And when Jaffe got back to
school, one of his friends
congratulated him on winning the
tournament and asked how hockey
was going. That was when reality
"I quit," Jaffe said shaking his
head, "and I couldn't believe I said
it. I said I quit.."
BUT JAFFE didn't turn his
back on the game. He went to
Friday night's hockey game. Not as
a player - but a fan, something
different. He sat in the stands.
Cheered his friends. Even did some
play-by-play on the school's radio
station, WJJX. He was on during
the power-play, something he never
did as a player at Michigan.
Michigan lost. Did they miss
Jaffe? Probably. But someone else
took his place. Fore-checked and
back-checked. Hustled and gave
everything he had to the program.
In sports, there's always someone
to fill in. It's the nature of the
But Jaffe's departure has left him
with a bigger void than the team
feels without Jaffe, and he's
looking for replacements as well.
He's going to play in a men's
hockey league. Try out refereeing.
But you know he's going to miss
"What will I miss most?" Jaffe
wondered out loud. "The cam-
araderie. I'll miss winning a big
game. And being there for a big
goal. Hearing the crowd yell. And
it's always great to hear people
cheering for you when you skate
down the ice with the puck... "
The list goes on. But they are
just memories now. And memories
are all that Billy Jaffe has left from
... wrestles at tough slot
Billy Jaffe pulled off his mask and quit the Michigan hockey
team over vacation. For the first time in many years, he will
have time on his hands, instead of hockey gloves.
THEY WEREN'T. More of
the same. Working hard in practice.
Cheering the team on. Not seeing
much ice time. And suddenly he
realized his love had deserted him.
He thought about breaking off the
relationship. Thought a lot. Finally
he informed his coach, Red
Berenson, of his intentions.
Berenson told him to think about
Jaffe did. Five more days. No
That's it? That's it.
But you just don't stop doing
something you sacrificed your
vacation to get used to as well.
Instead of being in Ann Arbor, Jaffe
went to Florida. "It was the first
time I spent Christmas with my
family in a long, long time," Jaffe
said. "I'm trying to remember my
last non-hockey Christmas break.
Uh, I think it was, uh, Florida.
Yeah. I think I was nine. Or ten."
THAT'S HOW long it has
been. That's how much time has
been devoted. You don't just forget
something. Psychologists say you
dream about what you think about
most. Well, in Florida, Jaffe had a
Continued from Page 11
two years left, a time when many
wrestlers peak. Teammate Mike
Amine followed two inconsistent
years by finishing second in the
nation last season in the NCAA
championship. In addition, Trost
didn't win his Big Ten championships
or become an All-American until his
THIS SEASON Potokar has
been ranked as high as fifth*
nationally. This is in recognition of
his accomplishments, talent, and also
of a weakened heavyweight field,
particularly in the Big Ten. Iowa and
Purdue lost Mark Sidlinger and Cal
VandeHoef, respectively, to
graduation, and Mark Schultz of Ohio
State is being redshirted this season.
"He has to gain confidence that he
can go the whole match," said Trost.
"He's always in every match. He's
had a lot of close matches where it
seems like he can dominate but he's
just not doing it. That's up to the
person. When you get out on the mat
you have to do it. I just think he has
to take charge and not let anyone push
him around, because I've seen all the
heavyweights and he can beat any of
Potokar feels he needs to recapturte
the attitude that led to those state
"In high school, I would just go in
there and know I was going to win,"
Potokar said. "(For me to dominate
again) I have to go to practice and not
talk to anyone and just be all
It is out of character for th
personable and friendly Potokar, well-
liked by his teammates, to act so
BUT THE BEST antidote to
alleviate pressure is winning. And
this year Potokar seems to be on his
way, having won the Eastern
Michigan Open and placing at the Las
Last weekend his fine performance
at the Virginia Duals was due in part
to an incident which sparked his
competitive nature and allowed him to
beat a wrestler to whom he had
"Bob and I were sitting in the
hallway and the Oklahoma State
coach was there and I don't think he.
saw us, related teammate John Fisher.9
"He was bragging about how his guy
beat the wrestler from Michigan.
When they wrestled, Bob beat him
pretty badly, practically pinning
In the next match against
Lockhaven, the score was 18-16, in
Michigan's favor. An inspired
Potokar won a close 3-2 match to
give Michigan a victory.
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