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January 22, 2001 - Image 16

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-01-22

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8B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - January 22, 2001




Over winter break, while most Michigan stu-
dents were vacationing and the hockey team
was ffalling on hard times in the Great Lakes
Invitational, Mike Cammalleri, Andy Hilbert
and Mike Komisarek were in Moscow, defending'
their countries' honor
Participants in the World Junior Champi-
onships, an annual tournament consisting ofthe
best hockey players in the world under the age
of 20, the three spent three weeks playing hock-
ev in sweaters affixed with their flags, a change
fivm the block "M" they're used to.
Cammalleri played for Team Canada, while

Ililbert and Komisarek skated with Team USA.
Canada picked up the bronze medal in the tour-
nament won by the Czech Republic. The Ameri-
cans took home fifth place, falling to
Cammalleri's Canadian squad in the quarterfi-
nals. And after three hard weeks, the three play-
ers reunited in the slightly more friendly
confines of Yost Ice Arena, back in the maize
and blue.
The three agreed to sit down with The
Michigan Daily hockey writers and detail their
memorable experience. The following are
excerpts fiiom the conversation.

After seven intense games, the Czech
Republic captured the gold medal at the
World Junior Championships.
Mike Cammalleri and the Canadians took
home the bronze medal, leaving a sour taste
in the mouths of Andy Hilbert and Mike
Komisarek - Cammalleri's teammates at
Michigan and members of Team USA.
1 Czech Republic (gold)
2 Finland silver)
3 Canada (bronze)
4 Sweden
6 Switzerland
7 Russia
8 Slovakia
9 Belarus
10 Kazakhstan



One of the major aspects of the trip to
Moscow for the tournament is the setting.
Before the players could discuss their
?xperiences on the ice, they described what it was.
ike to be in soforeign a nation.
The Michigan Daily: What were the people
ike over there? Were they like here pretty much'?
Andy Hilbert: Not really. The mentality of the
>eople there is totally different. You'd be waiting to
;o to the door and open the door and someone
would just dart right in front of you. They don'ts
-are. It's something you 'have to get used to just
)ecause it was a foreign experience. It wasa differ-
ant foreign experience than I've ever ha. I think"itf
was a good experience.
TMD: How were the fans tlew'? YYou said there.
weren't a lot of fans, and obviously most of them
were supporting the Russians,
Mike Cammalleri: We played Russia one game
md there were big fans there for the Russia game.
It got pretty crazy in there. Other than that, the fan
Support wasn't great because I guess tickets were a
ittle pricey. I guess the economy right now isn't
very strong. They didn't have the money to get to a
ot of the games.
You had to pretty much create your own energy.
That's different from what we're used to because
we play in the greatest atmosphere for hockey in
:he world at Yost.
Mike Komisarek: When we first got off the
plane, looking out the window, you'd
just see guys walking on the wings
of the planes,
the snow off
the roof of
the planes.
It's such a
Iworld out
TMD: When you
guys were gone,
(Michigan hockey
r coach Red) Berenson
was telling us that
what he was hearing
was that you guys
BRANDON SEDLOFF/Daily weren't very happy. Partic-
ularly you, Mike (Komisarek), he was saying that
you were pretty unhappy. Talk about that.
Komisarek: You're faced with a lot of adversity.
Just the conditions that you're living in and playing
with. You're so used to the way that you have
things here and then you go there and it's totally a
different world - the food, the way of life over
The food is terrible and my bed was really short
and my feet would hang off and it's hard to fall
asleep at night with the time adjustment and all
that. On top of that, you're playing in one of the
,op tournaments in the world at the 20-year-old age

It's just a thing that we have to deal with and an
advantage that the other teams had over us.
TMD: What was the hotel like ? I hear it was
kind of like an antique type of hotel. You're proba-
bly not going to find a game room there.
Komisarek: It was a castle.
Hhlbert: From what I hear, during World War II,
GerMans were bombing Moscow so Stalin brought
a bunchi of Gemnan tradesmen and builders to the
hotel and he wouldn't let them go back to Ger-
many unless they built the hotel, so they built this
2,k00rnch tcei id it Sa beautiful hotel.
I jusths't been touced since 1952 or what-

would have been great.
id-100, it would have
. 'firooms were huge,
Oz Ihey had the Internet
do, but just the rooms
could tell, forever. It was
ause i was such a beauti-
place to stay? I wouldn't
>ks like a nice castle and
get in there, you're just

Courtesy CHA/Laura LeyshonIhuresson
Mike Cammalled (29) and his Team Canada mates
celebrate a goal in the matchup against Team Sweden.
"You had to pretty much create
your own energy That's different
from what we're used to because
we play In the greatest
atmosphere for hockey in the
worldat Yost."
-Mike Cammalleri
Michigan hockey player
and member of Team Canada

if not for the experiences gathered along
the wa, this would just be another tourna-
Moscow offered the players opportunities
to do a number of things one of the most
memorable being a visit to the site of the
famous Summit Series, an eight-game
matchup between Canada and the Soviet
Union in 1972.
The Michigan Daily: As well as you can,
just from start to finish, talk about the experi-
Hilbert: We were playing the Czech
Republic it was probably our biggest game
of the round-robin tournament and they
gave us wake-up calls at like 3:30 at.. Our
entire team woke up and somiguys uldn't
go back to sleep but some guys 4oi4d
They were just trying to make it tougher on
you and it was already tough.
Cammaleri: We had to move rinks to
after our round-robin to go play aga
U.S. and then we had to go back toe
other rink again. That night .S
game we brought our ea
because we were suppose4 e a 'e
room at the other rink, ahdM Slovaks, who
had already lost out of the tournament, were
still in that lockerroom - they didn't clear
their stuff out even though they were sup-
posed to for us.
So we had to go through a whole thing
yelling at a bunch of Russians even though
they wouldn't let us in the building. It was a
big mess and then our coach got so mad that
he went to the hotel, woke the Slovaks up out
of bed and made them get on our bus, go
back to the rink, take all their equipment and
move it to another room so we could move all
of our equipment.
TMD: What was your Christmas like? I
know you got some gag gifts.
Cammalleri: They got me a clothing set
for a Ken doll because it has really small
clothes. They were all in Michigan colors -
they were maize and blue - so that was pret-
ty funny. There were funny gag gifts. Some
were adult related and I can't really bring that
up right now, but there were some funny gag
gifts for sure.
Hilbert: Everyone had to bring a shirt
from the team they played for and they'd
bring a $20 gift and we'd exchange. Some
people just got terrible gifts. I know one gift
was an 'N Sync doll.
Komisarek: We
had to bring the t-
shirts and our equip-
ment manager gave us
these double-XL
bright-yellow Michi-
gan hockey shirts. And
no one wanted them,
so everyone was hop-
ing not to get the
Michigan hockey shirt.
One of the guys got
one and one of the
coaches, so I guess
they were pretty disap-
TMD: You got to
go to the arena where
the Summit Series
happened, right?
BRANDON SEDLOFF/Daly Cammalleri: It's
called Luznyki, and

they built a new Luznyki, which is the one
that we played at. We got to see the old
Luznyki where that all happened. That was an
incredible experience for us, the whole Cana-
da-Russia thing because that series was just
huge. It's been a big part of Canadian culture
ever since.
The ice was out, but I was standing in the
spot where Paul Henderson scored the goal
and we took pictures and stuff like that. That
was a really great experience.
TM)D: I know you weren't born then, but do
you have a special appreciation for that series?
Cammalteri: I do. From stories from my
parents, I watche4i;all. I can't ceven explain
to you - you WOodrt undefLand how big a
part of the Canadianeclure that series was.
My dad adi w-m om he high schools
they wre'inalldh teigh s iools in Canada
shut 4wn,>iibr you coodeitheigohome and
wa t he ltt haveTVs all set up
in, fi eriasUnivorsitiCs all closed down.
A igipampns shut everything down
j)-thie gamesTi stopped for that series.
F11 :Twey years from now, when you
buy'rer okingack on the tournament,
what will youenieniber ?
Cammalleri: (laughing) Winning the quar-
terfinal game.
Hilbert: You'll remember the stupid stuff
that you did as a team. You're together for
three-and-a-half weeks. You're going to
remember so many things.
Hockey's probably going to be secondary, I
would think. It's just going to be the closeness
of the team, how close you were. You have
friends on the team that you're going to keep
playing with, hopefully all the way up.
You make friends on that team for life, and
that's probably what I'm going to take away
from the tournament.
Komisarek: Despite the living conditions
and all of the adversity you face, you're
together for three weeks and you have to get
along with your teammates. The thing that I'll
remember most is just spending time with
each other and how every-
one just seemed to gel on
our team and everyone
just enjoyed each


Komisarek: I guess with the people over there,
it's supposed to be unreal. It was sort of spooky
and creepy.
Cammalleri: Did you guys ever got to the top
I can't remember what number it was. It was
like the top floor in the hotel. It was built like a
castle - it has these shafts and there was this one
elevator that could take you to the top, top, top
One time one of the guys
was up there, and he was
like, 'Oh my god.'
ie came down and he
was like, 'You guys have to
go up there.' And he had us
all scared of what could be L. e
up there.
We went up there and it
was the scariest thing. It
was the top floor and there
was just the roof and all
glass windows and stuff.
It was nighttime and the
windows were blowing in £
and out, so all you'd hear
was loud wind blowing.
They were all two-way mir-
rors. And then there were
stairs going up to another
level. And you looked out
there and it was the scariest


other's company and made the best of it.
You just accept the fact that you're in Rus-
sia and you haven't seen the sun in a month
and all the other things I said before. You just
make the most of the situation and just try to
have fun.
Cammalleri: Twenty years from now,
you'll definitely remember the friends you
made and the experiences you had, whether
on the ice or off the ice.
But definitely being off the ice and seeing
Russia and seeing the hardships that people go
through over there. That stuff kind of sticks to
you forever and really helps you realize what
we have over seas. I think I'll remember that.

thing ever.

From left: Mike Komisarek, Mike Cammalled and Andy Hilbert.


But it would be foolish to discuss the
trip without talking about the hockey.
The tournament provided some incredi-
ble matchups, including the quarterfinal
game between Team USA and Team
Canada, won by Canada, 2-1.
The Michigan Daily: The Canadian
coach said: "Hockey is one of the few'
things we Canadians can stand up on
the world stage and bump our chests
about:" Is that true?
Cammalleri: That's a big thing and
that's a big motivational factor for Cana-
dians. Canadians
really believe
that hockey is,
Canada and
Canada is hock-
ey. There's a
romantic feeling
a bout play ing
for your country;u
it's something;
that you dream
about for your
whole life.
Pr: nn- i

more of a trap style of hockey. With the
Canadian team we played like we do
with Michigan - forecheck hard, skate
hard, go hard. That's not how the Euro-
pean game is played. They really set up
defensively and let the play come to
them and they try to really capitalize on
The hockey was a little bit different.
The Olympic ice surface was a differ-
ence. I know it's something that we kind
of got used to playing a couple of games
against WCHA teams, but the hockey is
a little bit differ-
The bottom
line is, there's still
two nets, two blue
lines, what is it,
two goal lines?
(laughing) One
puck -
Hilbert: -
One red line.
Cam malleri:
One red line.
Ynn're in.4 trvinv

kill anybody.
Komisarek: It's a different type of
game, and then with the big ice surface,
you have a little more time with the
puck, and a little more time to make
With the forechecking, you go back,
but the other team dumps the puck, and
usually in college hockey or the
CCHA, you'd expect to get hit. But
they dump it in and they just wait for
you at the red line or your blue line, just
waiting for you to come toward them
and attack them.
TMD: Talk about the Canada-USA
Cammalleri: It's something that I
almost don't even want to bring up any
more because we're back here at Michi-
gan and we're teammates and close
friends over here, all three of us. I know
it's something that I don't really want to
talk about too much because right now
our goals are focused on Michigan and
winning here.
(laughing) But you know, I've got to
tel l Vn, there's asmile that I can alwavs

that, we hit the crossbar one time -
Cammalleri: - I think that was
Andy Hilbert who hit the crossbar.
Hilbert: It could have put the game
out of reach because two goals in the
first period is really tough to overcome
in international competition.
We shot ourselves in the foot in the
end. We took a lot of stupid penalties in
the third period and they finally capital-
ized on the fifth power play.
Komisarek: I just wonder if the refs
wee Canadian.
Canmalleri:They weren't, by the
way, and we had just as bad nffing, all
right, Komo?
&omisarek: Whateve.
TMD: How were the refs? Pretty fair?
Hilbert: Nope, it's terrible. I think it's
pretty much terrible for every team
I don't know about Mike, but I'm
sure they were a lot more prejudiced
toward North American hockey, just
because there's different rules over there
and we aren't used to those rules.
The refs call it different andvyou have

they call penalties that you wouldn't
think that they would call.
Stick penalties are huge over there.
Hooking, holding, anything like that,
they call, but if you blatantly pick some-
one that doesn't have the puck and
knock them down, they won't call it.
It's a different style of reffing, just
like it's a different style of hockey.
TMD: As it happened, when you
(Hilbert and Komisarek) saw him
(Cammalleri) in the corner, did you try
to get him on purpose?
Konnisarek: We didn't want to hurt
the kid--
Cammnalleri (laughing) Oh!
Kowisarek:I knew we were coming
back hIre and we're looking forward to
the end of this year and playing in the
NCAA tournament. We really have high
goals bere and these guys are both good
We's one of the top guys on our team.
- Cammalleri: You didn't want to hurt
me, eh, Komo?
It was a good game. It was a lot of
fin to nlav in It was that kind of game.

Cammalleri may have bragging
rights after Canada beat Team USA,
but Hilbert got his by scoring the
most of any Michigan representa-
tive to the tournament.
player games points PIM +/-
Cammalleri 7 6 2 -2
Hilbert 7 9 6 +3
Komisarek 7 0 0 -2

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