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September 06, 2000 - Image 18

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-09-06

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4B - The Michigan Daily - September 6, 2000 - SportsWednesday

Icers still strong despite
loss of star center Comrie

2000-2001
MICHIGAN HOCKEY SCHEI
Sept. 29 Blue/Wh ite (Ex) 7:35 pm
Sept. 30 WfilfEredaurer (Ex) 7:05 p.m.
ICE BREAKER TOURN. Anrt Arbor)
Oct. Midhigan vs. Colgate 8:35 p.m.

By Joe Smith
Daily Sports Writer
A single player doesn't make a team.
Even if that player is Mike Comrie.
Despite losing their leading scorer
just three weeks before classes began,
the Michigan hockey team is still the
favorite to repeat as CCHA conference
champions.
Comrie, a 1999 draft pick of the
Edmonton Oilers, elected to forego his
junior year at Michigan to play Major
Juniors in an attempt to become an
unrestricted NHL free agent. Instead
of donning maize and blue this fall,
Comrie will be a member of the West-
ern Hockey League's Kootenay Ice in
Cranbrook, British Columbia.
"Mike's a great player, probably one
of the best skill players who ever
played at Michigan," Michigan coach
Red Berenson said. "But he decided
not to come back. I'm disappointed but
we have to move on and not worry
about what could have been. I like the
returning team just as much now as I
did before Comrie made the decision."
Returning is a talented crop of
seniors who tasted success as fresh-
men, winning the national champi-
onship in 1998. After two straight
years of coming one game short of the

Frozen Four, these Wolverines are hun-
gry to return to title form.
With the leading scorer gone, Beren-
son feels that it won't be just one play-
er who picks up the slack and puts the
puck in the net, rather five senior for-
wards in particular.
Captain Geoff Koch and assistant
captain Scott Matzka came on strong
when it counted last season, and will
be expected to do more of the same
this year. Koch netted three game win-
ning goals last year, including the over-
time thriller against Colgate in the
NCAA first round that kept the
Wolverine's season alive. Matzka
notched six points in the postseason,
and had three game-winners in the sea-
son of his own.
Senior forward Josh Langfield is no
stranger to pressure situations. He
scored the overtime goal that clinched
the team's last national title in 1998.
Not to be forgotten is sophomore
Andy Hilbert, who had an impressive
freshman campaign, ranking third on
the team in scoring.
Scoring goals may not be such a
necessity with the experienced and
intimidating group that will be behind
the blue line this season.
"We'll be better on defense even
with the loss of (senior Sean) Peach

cause of the experience of the return-
crs," Berenson said.
All-American junior Jeff Jillson
decided not to go pro this offseason
and returns after a solid year where he
teamed up with now senior and assis-
tant.captain Dave Huntzicker to make
up for a depleted front line. The
Wolverines lost three defensermen
before last season, including their cap-
tain Mike Van Ryn to Major Juniors,
and the two stepped up their level of
play to hold their opponents in check.
Huntzicker will return to his post at
defense after spraining his knee in his
first shift of the Wolverine's overtime
win over Colgate. Three new recruits
have also been added to add depth to
the blue line, including 6-4, 240 pound
Mike Komisarek, who is expected to
receive ample ice time this season.
If lined up with Jeff Jillson, it could
be a scary combination. "Side by side
they're like bookends," Berenson said.
"It would be interesting to see them
lined up together."
Coaches and teammates alike notice
the potential of the new recruit, but
realize it will take time for him to
develop.
"Komisarek has the tools to be a
solid Division I dcfenseman,"Berenson
said. He has the size and talent, but it
will take time to make the adjustment."
The Wolverines will be facing the
longest and largest schedule in team
history, possibly having to face three of
the four finalists in the NCAA Frozen
Four. This includes October 6-7 when
thev host the Ice Breaker Tournament.
Defending NCAA champion North
Dakota will be entering Yost, along
with a Colgate team that will use
revenge as its motivational tool when it
faces the Wolverines in the first game.
"We're really going to be up against
it," Berenson said. "All eyes will be set
on that game. There's no question
they'll come in with revenge in mind."
For the second year in a row, the
Wolverines will open the season in
September, not leaving a lot of time for
practice before their first test on the
30th against Wilfred Laurier.
"It will challenge our team early"
Berenson said. "We'll find out what
kind of team we are and what kind of
team we have to be.
"It'll be a great challenge, but I'm
certainly not afraid of it and I don't
think the players are either. I think they
look forward to the challenge."

Jan. 20 at Western Michigan 7:05 p.m.
Jan. 23 Notre Dame 7:05 p.m.
Jan. 27 Michigan State 7:35 p.m. (Detroit, Mich.)
Feb. 2 at Nebraska Omaha 7:05 p.m.
Feb 3 at Nebraska Omaha 705 p.m.
Feb. 9 Northern Michigan 7:35 p.m.
Feb. 10 Northern Michigan 7:05 p.m.
Feb. 16 Notre Dame 7:35 p.m.
Feb 17 Michigan State 7:35 p.m (Detroit'
Feb 22 at Lake Superior 7:05 p.m.
Feb 24 Lake Superior 7:35 p.m. (Detroit)
Mar 2 at Michigan State 7:05 p.m.
Mar 9-11 CCHA First Round Series
Mar 13 CCHA Play-In Game
Mar. 16-17 CCHA Championship (Detroit)
Mar 23-24 NCAA East Regional (Worcester.
Mass.)
Mar. 24-25 NCAA West Regional (Grand Rapids)
Apr. 5-7 NCAA Frozen Four (Albany N Y.)

4

NSSAN C
errimack5 5
laska-Ancholr

(Anchorai
)M.

Oct20 atBowli
Sun., Oct. 22 at
Oct. 27 Miamif(
Oct. 28 Miami (
Nov. 4 Mictgan
Nov. 10 F :rrSl$
Nov. 11 it Fe~ri
Nov. 17 Aaska-I
Nov. 18 AIir.)
COLLEGE HQCKJ
Nov. 23 at WiscI
Nov. 25 at Minn

MICHIGAN ROSTER

) p.m.
05 p.m.

Dec.
Dec.
Dec.
Dec.
Dec.

1 at Northern MIchigan 7:05 p.m.
2 at Northern Michigan 7:05
8 St. Lawrence 7:35 p.m.
9 St. Lawrence 7: p.m.
12 U.S. NTDP U-18 texf 705 n.m.

No. Name Pos. Yr.
29 Josh Blackburn G Jr.
4 Andy Burnes D Fr.
13 Mike Cammalleri C So
7 Brad Fraser D So
3 Bob Gassoff D Sr.
19 AndyH Hlbert C So
27 Dave Huntzicker D Sr.
5 Jeff Jillson D Jr.
11 Joe Kautz RW Fr.
18 Geoff Koch LW Sr
8 Mike Komisarek D Fr.
9 Mark Kosick C Sr.
21 Josh Langfeld RW Sr.
10 Scott Matzka Rw Sr.
25 Mark Mink LW So
14 Craig Murray LW Jr.
34 Kevin O'Malley G Jr.
26 Jed Ortmeyer RW So.
23 Mike Roemensky D So.
.31 L.J. Scarpace G Sr.
John Shouneyia C So.
2 J.J. Swistak RW So.
22<: Bill Trainor LW Sr.
15 .! ay Vancik D Jr.
24 .David Wyzgowski LW Fr.
Head Coach! Red Berenson (Michigan, '62)
Associate Coach: Mel Pearson (Michigan Tech, '81)
Assistant Coach: Billy Powers (Michigan, '88)

GREAT LAKES If
Dec. 29 Michig
Boston College

kL.LDt oit MI)
ate 4 or 7:35 p.m.

Jan.
Jan.
Jan.
Jan.
Jan.

5 Lake SuperIor 7:35 .m
6 Lake SuperIor 7:05 p
12 at Ohio State 7:05 p.m*.
13 at Ohio State 7:05 pm.
19 Western Michigan 7:35:p.m.

Comrie bolts for pros,

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COMRIE
Continued from Page 1B
year last season to play for Sarnia of
the OHL.
After one year of major juniors,
Van Ryn still was not signed by the
Devils. According to league rules,
Van Ryn should have been re-
entered into the draft. Arguing that
he was too old, Van Ryn sought to
be an unrestricted free agent.
The Devils disagreed and thought
they still had the rights to the for-
mer Michigan defenseman.
But an arbitrator ruled in Van
Ryn's favor, savine that he belonged
under rules governing Major Junior
players and he was awarded unre-
stricted free agency from New Jer-
sev.
Later this summer, Van Rvn
signed a three year deal with the St.
Louis Blues for over three million
dollars.
The success of Van Ryn's deci-
sion has paved the way for other
players, first Maine forward Barrett
Heisten and now Comrie to leave
their college teams after two sea-
sons to pursue free aeencv from
their drafted teams.
Many argue that this "Van Rvn"
decision is neither good for college
hockey nor the athletes, who can
leave college early without pursuing
their degree, and often times before
they are developmentally ready for
the NHL.
"It's a big risk that he's taking,"
Berenson said of Comrie. "lie's
putting himself in the position that
if he wants to play in the NHL, he's
only got one year to get ready. It's
not cut and dry that this (decision)
will help Mike Comrie."
The only question is whether the
risk of giving up two years of eligi-

bility at Michigan, a degree, a pos-
sible chance of winning a national
title and developing more as a play-
er under coach Red Berenson is
worth playing major juniors for one
year and taking the chance of
becoming a free agent.
While some argue that collegiate
competition is a better place to
develop as a player as well as a stu-
dent than major juniors, Bob Torry,
general manager of the Kootenay
Ice, feels that the "business" of
hockey is becoming more relevant
and agrees with Comrie's decision.
"I don't think that one league
develops better than another," Torry
said. "The business of hockey is so
big now. Education you can always
come back to. But hockey you can't
play forever."
While Comrie and the Wolverines
go their separate ways, the contro-
versy over this decision and its
effects on college hockey is being
heavily discussed.
Problems that could arise are that
many players will skip out of school
after two years as a mere bargaining
ploy, or even to just get away from
the team that drafts them.
This will lead to NHL teams
being reluctant to draft college play-
ers in fear that they would just jump
ship and leave school early to force
free agency.
Comrie reported to his new team,
the Kootenay Ice, on Sept. 1, but
will not forget what he's leaving
behind.
"I'll miss the whole atmosphere,"
Comrie said. "Any Michigan hock-
ey player will tell you how exciting
it is to play all their games at Yost
with the fans behind you. I'll miss
my teammates that I've developed
good relationships with, and I wish
them well."

Berenson named tUP
Saskatchewan's Hall
Michigan head coach Red Berenson
was elected as this year's hockey- ep-
resentative to the Saskatchewan Sports
Hall of Fame and Museum in his
hometown of Regina. Saskatchewan
on June 17th.
He joins sev
other idin
als and °twvo
Saskatchewan
based teams in
this years class.
Other notable
mniembers of the
Berenson museum are
former Red
Wing greats G-ordie Howe and Sid
Abel.
"It was a nice gesture and nice to
remembered since J left Regina when I
was 19 years old," Berenson said.
After leaving his hometown, Beren-
son went on to play 1 years in the
NHL for the Montreal Canadiens,
New York Rangers and Detroit Red
Wings-- winning two Stanley Cups
along the way.
After retirement, lie coachedtdhe
Blues for three years and won Co
of the Year in 1980-81 beforeW
rejoined his alma mater, the Wolver-
ines, in 1984 where he has coached
ever since--winning two national titles
in 1996-1998.
"It (award) was very thoughtful and
much appreciated by me and my fami-
'v, Berenson said.
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for two M icers
The season didn't quite end in April
for two Wolverines. Sophomore center
Mike Cammalleri tried out for the
Canadian junior national team and
freshman defenseman Mike Komis-
arek tried out for the United State's
team. Both should find out in Decem-
ber if they made their respective
teamis.
Canucks sign forme
wolverine Morrison
VANCOUVER (AP) - The Van-
couver Canucks on Friday re-signed
center Brendan Morrison, who was
acquired from the New Jersey Devils
at the tradedeadline in the deal for
Alexander Mogilny. Terms were not
disclosed.
"We are happy to have Breno
under contract and ready for our
training camp in Sweden," Cain cks
president and general manager Brian
Burke said. "Brendan is a skilled
center who played well here aftev we
acquired him last season."
Morrison, a 25-year-old Briiish
Columbia native, played in 12 games
with the Canucks after the March 14
trade, recording two goals and stn
assists. He had five goals an"Ii
assists in 44 games with the Devils.
Morrison was one of the NHL's
top rookies in 1998-99, posting~ 13
goals and 33 assists in 76 g"pes
with the Devils. But Morrison
angered Devils general manager ou

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