12 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday. September 12, 2000
1L 1l le I111VIfi f 11 V w1I wvv n yn t vv .v..
BY JOE SMITH
DAILY SPORTS WRITER
ien he was 10 years old, sopho-
more Andy Hilbert attended leg-
endarv Michigan coach Red
Berenson's hockey camp. In awe of the man
who had made history in his 17-year NHL
career with the New York Rangers, Detroit
Red Wings and St. Louis Blues before taking
the helm of this alma-mater Wolverines in the
1984 season-- Hilbert posed in a picture with
Berenson and had the coach autograph it.
"I still have it at home," Hilbert said.
Little did he know that nearly a decade later.
he would be donning the maize and blue as
one of Berenson's warriors, going to battle
with other college hockey teams in the quest
to win another national title.
Although he is recovering from a "nagging
wrist injurv" that he had to repair in surgery
this past July, Hilbert says he'll be ready for
this season to accept an even bigger role than
he had last year - when he was third on the
team in scoring and emerged as one of the
Wolverines' brightest stars.
A PERFECT FIT
Ever since Berenson caught a glimpse of
Hilbert at his annual hockey camp, he knew
he saw something special. Michigan's general
followed Hilbert's jump through the ranks to
X the USA Junior National Team, where he has
played the last two seasons.
Berenson noticed that out of all the players,
some of the greatest in the country -[Hilbert
- was the only kid from Michigan on the ice.
"We recruited him from day one," Berenson
said. "He was the type of player, student, and
person that epitomized what we wanted at
Michigan. And he has not disappointed any-
As one of the top recruits in the nation coni-
ing into the 1999 season, [filbert could have
gone to pretty much any hockey program in
a the nation, or even played major juniors.
But the center is a native of Howell, just 45
miles north of Ann Arbor, and decided that
Michigan had the perfect coach, system and
'location to fulfill his needs.
Michigan's "offensive system was verv
open and free, which accommodated my style
as a plaver," Hilbert said. "Coach Berenson
was a big reason why I came here. It was a gut
feeling I had, and I also wanted to stay around
home so my family could watch me play. My
fimily has been such a bir, influenc
in my hockey career that I didn't
want to take oft and be somewhere
where they wouldn't be close tot
Hilbert came in with a big
freshman class which needed to
produce right off the bat in their
initial campaign. The
Wolverines lost three defense
men shortly before the
season began and needed players to step up
and pick up the slack.
h3erenson also needed someone to play
right wing along side star center Mike
Conrie. and chose Hilbert to filthe xoid.
The problem was Hilbert had never played
the position, and had to make the difficult
adjustment in learning the diterent responsi-
bilities of a winaer.
"It's a lot different in the defensix e zone.,,
Hilbert said. "A center has to be down low to
help the defensemen, while the wingers play
the point and make sure the other team's
defensemen can't get a good shot ofl
But the freshman made the adjustment look
easy. ending the season third on the team in
scoring with 33 points. This included a key
goal in the Wolverines 2-0 victory over
Michigan State in Munn Ice Arena, which
Berenson described as a "huge turning point
in the game and for our program.-
IHilbert also won the crucial face-off that
led to Geoff Koch's overtime, game-wxinning
goal against Colgate in last season's NCA As
- his favorite memory of his freshman sea-
"Hie certainly lived up to all expectations.'
Berenson said. "He's a team player and is
quiet off the ice. But he's intense. xcry
focused, and a real competitor. He plays with
a certain abandon and aggressieness, vet is
While his coach praises his perforIance.
filbert still feels that he still has a lot to learn
and feels he can
mprox c oil ill
"Last xea was a
so-so season for me,"
hlilbert said. "It Nvas a
cood year to start xvith
as a freshman, but once
voti'ic a sophomore you
learn the game more and
knox N hxat you have to do.
I Iearned some
thinEs and hope-
fully I can take
those steps and
be even better."
impressiv e freshman year with the
Wolverines, showcasing his skills for the
[ nited States Junior National Team this past
winter, and fulfilling a lifelong dream by
bein drafted by the Boston Bruins (37th
ox erall) in the June 2000 N H L Draft -
Hilbert finally hit a bump in the road.
A nagging wrist injury that had been both-
ering hiim cxen before he came to Michigan
needed to be fixed this off-season.
Hilbert had surgery to replace some scar
tissue in his left xwrist two months ago, but has
been xworkine hard in rehab ever since to oet
back to his true form so he can be back on the
ice fur the season exhibition opener against
WiI i-ed Laurii-r just 18 days away.
"It was getting better but there was a chance
I could hurt it acain, " ilbert said. "'Now it's
taking care of and better in the lone run."
The center has been working out with the,
team and Berenson feels he'll be ready to go
once the first puck is dropped.
"I IC should be fine once wve get back on the
ice," said Berenson.
K\OxN YOtiR R :i.V
With the departure of leading scorer Mike
Comrie this past offseason. many Wolverines
will be expected to raise their level ofplay and
pick up their production to replace the Hobey
Baker finalist and his 55 points.
This holds true especially fur Ifilbert, who
may et the chance to go back to his natural
position as center and take Comrie's spot. But
with that conies the responsibility ofbeing tar-
eted by opponents, as Ifilbert's scorin will
" no longer be a surprise
to CCHA foes.
Berenson agrees that
Hilbert will have a
bigger role on the
- team, but thinks
that with the
amount of tal-
ent at everv
would be unsuccessful.
"If we have a balanced team, and I think we
will. then there won't be any one petson to
focus on," iBerenson said.
Hilbert feels that the loss of Comrie will
also have an upside. It may create opportuni-
ties for other players to step up and take.
advantage of their time to shine.
Comrie's departure "definitely leaves room
for some of the older guys who didn't think
thex had a ercat season last year to be unbe-
lievable this veal." Hilbert said. "This includes
myself. It makes me want to prove that just
because Mike Comrie left doesn't mean the
team isn't going to do well this year.
"WYell"being the operative word, as many
think that this years Wolverines have as good
of a chance as any to turn some heads in
Albany. New York - this year's site of the
"We have a lot of weapons," Hilbert said. I
think our team is going to be unbelievable this
year and I think we're going to have a real
chance to do something special."
Many of those weapons include the talent-
ed, seven-member senior class. As freshmen,
they helped the Wolverines attain the pro-
griam's most recent national title in 1998.
These upperclassmen took the time before
last year's NCAA tournament to talk to the
other Wolverines about what it takes to win it
all, and the young Hilbert took their words to
heart - learning a valuable lesson from his
first post-season experience.
"Last year when we weren't supposed to do
as well as we did and when we went to
NCAAs, we kind of got a taste of it,; Hilbert
said. "I learned not to take that for granted and
make sure if we're there again to put every-
thing oii the ]iue so that we can come out on,
When you see *
Lee, thank him
T te Michigan football team hasn't missed a beat in
Drew Ienson's absence - not to say he won't be
welcomed back as soon as his broken foot has healed
Given his chance, John Navarre has shown every*
he has the necessary traits to reassume the role after
enson leaves or graduates.
He took a few good hits against Rice and managed t
pick himself up. He didn't make any overtly foolish
decisions. And lie won the two games he was supposed
It looks as if' Michigan owes a thank-von to former
Northwestern coach Grary Barnett. In a story that's
quickly becoming an Ann Arbor legend, Navarre was sc
to attend Northwestern when Barnett bolted for
Colorado. Navarre canceled his Evanston plans and i
mately chose Michigan instead.
How, might you ask, will you be able to give Baniet
your personal thanks when he's coaching all the way oL
in Colorado? Fortunately, Barnett spends quite a bit of
time in town at Regents meetings, serving as Universit
President Lee Bollinger.
Gar Brett Gary ?
ollinger has had quite a bit to deal with this week
T here's been yet another earthquake in the basketba
pr'ogr'am. Kevin Gaines has becii dismiissed frdn thi
teani following an alcohol-related iident.
Gaames will not suit up fr this year's Wolverines. Gavin
Groninger is a ditimateandite to start at one oflti e
guard spots. But if he doesn't, Michigan will be starting a
pair of freshman guards for the second season in a row.
Any way it's sliced, Michigan is short on experienced
guards for this season. Starting Maurice Searight and Aver
Queen will lead to another season like the last - not
because they aren't talented playrs, but because they're
Too bad Robbie Reid doesn't have another year of -°
bihity. Thei again, even if he did, he probably woldn't
to come back to Ann Arbor. Playing Nick in the Backs
Boys has been too much fun.
Robbie Reid Robbie the performer
W thout Gaines, last season's co-Most Valuable
Player, Ellerbe and his staff will have a tough
time in the Big Tei this season.
Michigan State and Wisconsin, both Final Four partici-
pants last season, return the cores of their teams. Illinois
will be back for another "can they break into the upper ecel
elon" season. Lo and behold, America's toughest league is
ready to reassert itself.
Michigan State is the odds-on favorite to win pat
all of the Big Ten regular-season title for the third
Surprisingly, the one team that won't be contending
for much of anything this season is Purdue, an Elite
Eight squad in 2000.
Coach Gene Keady lost contributors both at guard
(Jaraan Cornell) and at the forward spots (Briani
Cardinal and Mike Robinson).
Keady is accustomed to being quite a busy man in tt
month of March, but that will likely change this seaso
Perhaps with his spare time he could resume his ro
The Penguin when Batman returns to the air.
Food For Thought
Peace Movement -
Was it Peaceful?
In "On Killing," author Lt. Col.
Dave Grossman, a psychologist
} who studied-the emotional
costs of having to kill, comments
on the effect the protest
movement had on the returning
American warrior: "Never in
American history, perhaps never
in all the history of Western
Civilization, has an army
suffered such an agony of many
blows from its own people."
Gary Lillie & Assoc., Realtors
meeting tonight at
WH Y H AS T HE
UNIVE RSIT Y
For some answers see:
Inside sophomore Andy Hilbert
® Played Right Wing last season, alongside Mike Comrie
w As freshman Hilbert notched 17 goals and 16 assists placing third on the team in scoring
Elected to CCHA All Rookie Team last season
In June 2000 at NHL Draft - was selected 37th overall by the Boston Bruins
Played for Team USA in last two world Junior Championships
® Native of Howell - attended Ann Arbor Huron his last two years of high school
s In December 1999,
his third period goal
put No. 5 Michigan
State away in the
victory at Munn Ice
Arena - Michigan's
first in five years.
Scored two goals,
including the game
winner, in Michigan's
6-4 comeback win over
Ferris State in
February. His perfor-
mance earned him
Rookie of the Week
Won key faceoff
in NCAA First round
Colgate, that lead
to Scott Matzka's
ning goal - keep-
ing the Wolverines
First player to
come from US
from the same
Voted by Shape Magazine as one of the Top 10 Workouts!
Fall 2000 Sept. 11-Dec.14
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