14B - The Michigan Daily - FACEOFF 2000 - Thursday, October 5, 2000
The main event
Continued from Page 11B
had seen on ice.
"When they were practicing out
there, I was in the training room," he
says. "I would come in in the morning.
The whole time I was getting ready to
come back in January just to make sure
that I was in shape"
And if there is any way to regain
confidence, shutting out the No. 5
team in the country in your first game
- back has to be high on the list.
The Wolverines, ranked No. 6 at the
time, got two goals, only one of which
they would need, and the defense held
the Spartans to 23 shots.
Blackburn did the rest.
"I was really nervous;" Blackburn
remembers. "I think it just gave me
confidence right off the bat and I think
that an important part of 'he job is
being confident in your play.
The guys really stepped it up a notch
because it was Michigan State and it
was my first game back and no one
knew how I was going to play, includ-
It was that same nervousness that
occupied Blackburn's mind in the sum-
mer of 1997. After the trip to Ann
Arbor, he knew that he wanted to be a
Still, the modest Blackburn said he
wasn't sure the Wolverines wanted
Perhaps this goalie was just being a
bit too humble. After all, beyond going
to Michigan, the NHL's . Phoenix
Govotes drafted him with the 114th
pick in 1998.
Sure enough, Blackburn received
the call for which he had been waiting.
In November of 1997, during the
NCAA's early signing period, the
Wolverines announced the signing of
goalie Josh Blackburn from Choctaw,
Blackburn had been chosen to
receive the torch that Turco would
pass. After a national championship
season and a year in which Turco broke
many of college hockey's most presti-
gious records, Blackburn was on his
way to Michigan.
As the summer's heat drifts away, the
brisk air in Yost Arena welcomes the
start of a new season.
It is now the present day and
Blackburn is preparing himself for the
second half of his Michigan career.
While he won't break Turco's NCAA
record 127 victories, his legacy is guar-
anteed and his possibilities are endless.
"I don't think there's ever been a bet-
ter goalie here," assistant captain Dave
Huntzicker - who played with Turco
during the 1998 national championship
season - said of Blackburn. "He's so
talented, and he knows what's going
So with two years left to draw him-
self an even larger spot in the book of
Michigan legends, the quiet Blackburn
sets his sights to the maximum height.
"I'd like to keep improving every day
and get the most out of Michigan -
school and hockey-wise - while I'm
here," he says. "Hopefully win a
national championship. maybe two,
and see where it takes me after that."
In Berenson's mind, while the NHL
might take Blackburn to the summit of
fame and glory, he will always remain
in Ann Arbor, memorialized by the
folklore that .reverberates under the
roof of Yost Arena.
"He'll go down as one of the great
goalies at Michigan," Berenson said
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Continued from Page 13B
have to get used to playing more
games, but he also has little margin for
error, as he may have to go head-to-
head against the opposition's top scor-
ing lines in any given game.
Burnes and Komisarek have their
work cut out for them, but their elder
defensive counterparts appear to have
a lot of faith in them and don't foresee
any major problems.
"The transition happens so quick,"
Huntzicker said. "Once you're on the
ice, it's go, go, go, go, and before you
know it, it's Christmastime. It's defi-
nitely a big adjustment; but the upper-
classmen and coaches do a good job of
bringing players in and making them
understand. You just gotta go and do
HERE AND NOW
As two blue-chip defensive recruits,
Burnes and Komisarek could have
chosen to attend virtually any of the
Division I hockey powerhouses. No
doubt there were many other schools
besides Michigan that recruited them,
but something drew .them to Ann
Arbor, something made them want to
put on the maize and blue.
"I'd always wanted to go to college."
Komisarek said. "When you're a little
kid, it was always a dream to get a
scholarship and go to a big-time pro-
gram, and it doesn't get any better than
Michigan. The rink, the atmosphere,
the games, everything is just great
Now, the dream is a reality.
Tomorrow night at Yost Ice Arena,
Burnes and Komisarek will suit up for
their first official game as members of
the Michigan hockey team, in the
opening round of the Ice Breaker Cup
against Colgate. To say that the two
youngsters will have butterflies in their
stomachs would be an understatement.
"When I hear the fight song for the
first time, it's just gonna be electric"
Burnes said. "I committed last .uly to
come here, and ever since then, the
moment I've been thinking of is just
when I step on theice for the first time.
Looking down and having the big M'
on your chest, and the wings on your
helmet. it's just going to be unbeliev-.
All athletes want to be remembered
for something, whether it is for indi-
vidual achievements or for team
accomplishments. For Burnes and
Komisarek, the opportunity to make
memories is just beginning.
Over the next four years, these two
players will have the chance to carve
out special niches in the annals of.
Michigan hockey, so that in the future,
when someone brings up the names
"Mike Komisarek" and "Andy
Burnes," a smile will crease their face.
"I'd like to be known as someone
who came to every game and gave it
his all," Burnes said. "Someone who
did everything he could for the team
and brought good things to each
"I want to be known as someone
who worked hard and left nothing in
the tank," Komisarek added.
"Someone who played hard every
shift, every game, no matter what the
outcome, who did whatever it took to
3 Bob Gassoff
8 Mike Komisarek
Height: t Weight:
13 Mike Cammalleri
21 Josh Langfeld
26 Jed Ortmeyer
4 Andy Burnes
9 Mark Kosick
Training at the Yost Gym
10 Scott Matzka (A)
15 Jay Vancik
23 Mike Roemensky
28 John Shouneyia
The Michigan Daily - FACEOFF 20
6 Rob Kohen
11 Joe Kautz
18 Geoff Koch (C)
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Longtime 'M' coaches look for third title in five years
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During the 1990s the Michigan hock-
ey team won two NCAA titles, four
CCHA championships and seven Great
Lakes Invitational trophies.
The players in the maize and blue
sweaters have come and gone, much
like the designs of the jerseys them-
The constant in all of the success lies
in the stability behind the-bench.
Even the most pedestrian of
Michigan fans knows all about the leg-
endary Red Berenson, who took the
reigns of a floundering program in 1984
and returned it to national prominence.
But few understand the contributions
of Berenson's staff - associate head
coach Mel Pearson and assistant coach
Billy Powers. Between the three, there
is more than 46 years of college coach-
Berenson, of course, was a two-time
All-American at Michigan in 1961 and
'62 before graduating and moving on to
Because of his NHL success, in addi-
tion to his legendary status among the
college coaching contingent,
Berenson's name will remain synony-
mous with Michigan hockey for years
after he decides to hang it up.
Pearson begins his 13th season with
the Michigan program after spending
his first six years in college coaching as
an assistant at his alma mater, Michigan
Tech, Even with all of that experience,
coaching in the college hockey game is
anything but predictable for him.
"Kids change a little and the game
changes a little bit, so you are always
learning in this game," Pearson said. "If
you're not, you are going backwards."
With four new freshmen in the mi
Pearson looks forward to the challeng
of meshing the old with new.
"Any year you get new players, it's
new beginning," he said. "So l'i
always anxious to go out there and woi
with the new kids as well as the olds
kids because they've matured."
Powers played three years :
Michigan. After graduating in 198E
Powers became a graduate assista
until leaving to become an assistant
Illinois-Chicago in 1990.
In 1992, Powers returned to assum
his current job as an assistant.