The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - April 18, 2005 - 3B
By Scott Bell
Daily Sports Writer
The 10 seniors on Michigan's hockey team gathered in
a circle on stage and sang "The Victors" one last time,
bringing an end to their banquet and their well decorated
careers at Michigan. Arguably one of the most celebrated
classes in Michigan history, the 2001 freshman class won
three CCHA regular season titles, three CCHA tourna-
ment titles and reached two Frozen Fours.
The mood for the annual hockey awards banquet was
mixed, which was best displayed by one of the outgoing
seniors, Milan Gajic.
The rarely serious Gajic began his senior speech as
many would expect - by trying to lighten up the crowd
with jokes. The moment soon got to him, though, and
the British Columbia native had to battle through tears
while reflecting on the past four years. The scene was
very similar for other Wolverine seniors - almost all
of whom showed signs of being choked up during their
"Over our four years, we've won some championships,
and that's great," a teary-eyed senior captain Eric Nys-
trom said. "But when you look back on it, nobody's going
to remember the championships. I'm certainly not. I'm
going to remember the guys who were around me."
As a testament to their friendship, the tightly knit group
of seniors told stories and reflected on years past through-
out the afternoon.
Coach Red Berenson acknowledged the class's
strengths on the ice and also touched on its inability to
win the illusive national championship they had hoped
for. But his main hope was for the outgoing seniors to
remain Michigan men off the ice.
"I want to know about their futures," Berenson said.
"I want to know about who is going to make Michigan
proud five years from now and 10 years from now.
"You don't have to play in the NHL to be successful as
a Michigan hockey player."
The program also included the presentation of year-end
awards to the entire team.
At least I learned
one lesson in A
Senior Milan Gajic won the award for most improved player at the ice hockey team banquet on Saturday.
The only multiple-award winner of the afternoon was
junior Jeff Tambellini. After winning the Hazel M. "Doc"
Losh Award for being the team's scoring leader, Tambel-
lini also shared team MVP honors with sophomore T.J.
Hensick, as both received the Hal Downes Award. The
two battled all year for the scoring title and were both
named to the CCHA All-First Team at year's end.
"It was a great season," Tambellini said. "(Hensick)
and I were both thrilled to be a part of that. It's a great
The honors did not end there for Tambellini. Berenson
also announced captains for the upcoming season. For the
first time in the team's history, there will be three co-cap-
tains. Tambellini, an alternate captain this year, received
one of the nods, and he will be joined by forward Andrew
Ebbett and goaltender Al Montoya, who also was an alter-
nate captain this year.
"(Being named captain) is a big honor," Tambellini
said. "(I was) looking down the names over the last 20
years, and it's a pretty special group. An honor like that
is a lot of pressure, but it is going to be fun. We have a
young class coming in, so there's going to be a lot of lead-
ership needed - not just by me but by all of the returning
seniors and juniors."
Sophomore Matt Hunwick earned the Vic Heyliger
Award for the team's outstanding defenseman. The only
other sophomore to bring home hardware was defense-
man Tim Cook, who won the Carl Isaacson Award for
best academic athlete. Other award winners included
Gajic for the Alton D. Simms Award as most improved
player, senior forward David Moss for the Howard
Colby Award for best sportsman and freshman Chad
Kolarik for the Deker Club Award as most colorful
rookie. Kolarik and his best friend Kevin Porter both
had excellent freshman seasons, and Kolarik vowed to
share the honor with his friend.
The final award of the banquet was presented to Nys-
trom. He received the Joseph E. Barss Award, an award
given annually by the coaches for the best team player.
Nystrom's selflessness on and off the ice made him a
prime candidate for the award. He left the crowd with
parting words that showed why he received the honor.
"In the bigger picture, Michigan is bigger than every one
of us,"Nystrom said. "We should be fortunate for the oppor-
tunity that we had, and I certainly am. I love Michigan, and
a piece of Michigan will be with me wherever I go."
s I inch closer and closer to
the culmination of my stay
at this illustrious university,
I find myself asking two questions:
(1) Could cornhole.(a beanbag-
game that has
(2) What did GENNARO
my $140,000 FILICE
of tuition The SportsMonday
money really Column
And considering the fact that I'm
about to enter a career in the penny-
pushing field of journalism, the
latter question of monetary signifi-
cance has a knack of controlling my
thought process a lot as of late.
Simply put, I'm just not sure that
I'll leave this university any wiser
than when I left home just four Sep-
tembers ago. I'm a history major,
yet my knowledge of the past is far
below serviceable. I'm also an Eng-
lish major, but thanks to the gener-
osity of my friend Cliff (can't thank
you enough for all those notes,
buddy), I'm still baffled by the ques-
tion posed in the title of my English
239 intro course: "What Is Lit?"
I'd like to say that my time at the
Daily has molded me into a pol-
ished and well respected journalist.
But in looking back at some of the
subject matters I've explored in this
"sports" column - mixing green
alcohol with the opening of the
NCAA Tournament on St. Patty's
Day, being a dateless grump on
Valentine's Day and reminiscing
on the days when Starter jackets
reigned supreme - it's apparent
that a claim like this would be fruit-
less at best.
I struggle with this conundrum
concerning my lost loot on a regular
basis. But eventually, I always flip
open the cell and instantly know
that it was $140,000 well spent.
I don't call anyone for condo-
lence, but rather I just take a quick
glance at my custom greeting. It's
short, sweet and most definitely to
the point. Unfortunately, I'm not
sure whether this publication of
journalistic excellence will let me
print it. But I'll give you a hint:
"(Expletive) the Bucks." That exple-
tive is one of the four-letter sort and
conveniently rhymes with "Bucks."
This passionate statement always
reminds me that I received a stellar
education at the University.
Before setting foot in Ann Arbor,
I really didn't carry any ill will
toward that state school in Ohio.
Growing up in the Bay Area as a
diehard Cal fan, I never paid partic-
ularly close attention to the events
unfolding in Ann Arbor. Maize and
Blue didn't define me; therefore I
could stomach Scarlet and Gray. I
was well aware that Michigan and
Ohio State regularly turned out
legendary games on the gridiron
(in 1999, ESPN.com named this
annual showdown the best rivalry
in sports history), but I had no clue
how deeply this clash would come
to affect my livelihood.
In my time at Michigan, I've
noticed many factors that display
how beautifully this university and
The (man, that's irritating) Ohio
State University contrast each other.
From the divergent color schemes
to the vastly different academic
reputations, these two institutions
are defined by a plethora of differ-
ing characteristics that just ooze
polar oppositeness. And these grand
contradictions breed large-scale
hatred that reaches far outside the
It has become apparent to me
that "Great Lakes, Great Times"
and "The Heart of It All" don't
really mix: Michigan and Ohio
despise each other. This abhor-
rence between the two states may
have spawned between the years
of 1835 and 1837 when Ohio and
Michigan militia members lined
up at the border and almost went
to battle for the rights to Toledo.
No joke, Toledo. Wouldn't that be
like Indiana and Illinois mixing it
up for Gary? Anyway ... Although
there were no reported shots fired in
this dispute, a battle has waged on
ever since. For example, it is com-
mon knowledge among hand-state
residents that driving a car through
Ohio with Michigan plates is risky;
not just because of the random acts
of demolition that seem to occur
when such cars are parked, but also
because of the way that plates of
this form tend to swiftly pique the
interest of Ohio's highway patrol.
As a California native, I never
thought I'd get caught up in this
detestation of Ohio, but all it took
was one trip to Columbus in my
sophomore year. I had expected the
thousands of expletives that were
thrown my way for donning Michi-
gan attire. But I was completely
thrown just before kickoff during a
five-minute walk through a seem-
ingly harmless family tailgating
area. The walk was highlighted
by a young boy (no older than six)
flipping me the bird while yelling
obscenities and a group of elderly
ladies hurling their sandwiches at
me while questioning my manhood
in a very unelderly fashion. It was
pretty shocking and horribly real.
The day as a whole was one of
the most powerful experiences
of my life. After Michigan just
missed spoiling Ohio State's per-
fect season - losing 14-9 - I left
Columbus a defeated man. But just
like a Phoenix, a hatred for every-
thing Ohioan rose from the ashes.
Over the last few years, my ani-
mosity toward Ohio has grown to
the point that I can't come across
that combination of four letters
Barring a monumental collapse
in the coming weeks, I'll hit the
Big House at the end of the month
to receive my diploma in English
and history. But my education at
Michigan was far from academic.
And as I gracefully exit the No.
2 public school in the country
(according to U.S. News and World
Report), I'm left with one over-
riding adage that truly defines my
Fuck the Bucks.
Gennaro Filice hopes that over
the last year he made some of those
Monday morning lectures halfway
bearable. He can be reached at
NHL and CCHA
team up at
to help out Mott
By Gabe Edelson
Daily Sports Writer
Michigan senior captain Eric Nys-
trom and five of his fellow outgoing
classmates swooped around the play-
ing surface at Yost Ice Arena on Fri-
day night in front of a few thousand
cheering fans. But many things were
different from the Wolverines' previ-
ous game experiences at their home
The typically Maize-and-Blue-sat-
urated crowd displayed more Detroit
Red Wings jerseys than Michigan
The public address announcer
cracked jokes throughout the course
of the game.
The two teams combined to score
23 goals, an unheard-of total for a
The rosters were littered with cur-
rent NHL players locked out of their
professional season and playoffs.
But, perhaps most importantly,
the block 'M' on each player's chest
- both on Nystrom's squad's Maize
and Blue uniforms and the opposing
team's white and red threads - didn't
represent the Michigan Wolverines.
Instead, the logo stood for the Uni-
versity of Michigan Health System.
Most of the proceeds from the Pro
Skate for Mott's $20 ticket price went
toward C.S. Mott Children's Hospital
and its quest to build a new children's
and women's hospital.
It was the second such charity
game at Yost for the cause. The first
contest, held in December 2004,
raised roughly $60,000 for the $2.5
billion project. The fans at the most
recent game were not as numerous or
as famous as before - Kid Rock and
Tara Reid were on hand four months
ago; and it may not have attracted
quite as many top-tier pro players
- Steve Yzerman, Sergei Fedorov,
Nicklas Lidstrom and Chris Chelios
were among those skating in Decem-
ber - but Lidstrom, fellow Red
Wings defenseman Derian Hatcher
and Detroit backup goalie Manny
Legace still made the trip to Ann
Arbor for the event on Friday.
"They're such good players, and to
be on the ice with them is awesome,"
Nystrom said of the professionals
he skated with. "They're usually the
guys that are always breaking up my
plays, so they're good players. You
can only learn by watching them. I
keep an eye on those guys and see
what they're doing out there."
The Blue team was composed of
Nystrom, Michigan seniors Milan
Gajic, Eric Werner, Brandon Rogers,
David Moss and Jason Ryznar, Bowl-
ing Green goalie Jordan Sigalet and
several professional hockey players,
including a few Michigan alumni.
The White team was made up largely
of current and former Michigan State
skaters and the trio of Red Wings
players. But while the Blue team
bested the White team by a score
of 12-11, the goal total was the least
important thing in the minds of the
"It's fun being back on the ice," said
Lidstrom, who blamed the unchar-
acteristically high number of goals
Legace surrendered on the goalie's
brand new set of stiff pads. "I haven't
been skating for close to two months.
So (I'm) a little rusty, but it's fun."
Lidstrom was also happy to be help-
ing the fundraising cause behind the
game, which was organized by a former
member of the Wolverines, Dave Rob-
erts. Roberts played in Ann Arbor from
Senior Eric Nystrom, who was honored Saturday as the best team player for the
Wolverines, skated in the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital fundraiser on Friday.
1989-93 before moving on to the NHL.
"I think it's a great cause to ben-
efit the children's hospital," Lidstrom
said. "That's something that (the
players) can contribute, by pretty
much showing up and playing. We're
having fun doing it, too. It's great that
we can raise money for this."
Still, Nystrom was thrilled to get
the chance to skate with well-known
NHL veterans. While the NHL is
part of his family's past - his father,
Bobby, was famous as a key member
of four New York Islanders cham-
pionship teams in the 1980s - the
younger Nystrom would also like
the league to be a major part of his
"To be out on the ice with some
of these guys who are established
NHLers is an honor. Hopefully one
day I can get an opportunity to play
against them in the NHL."
But despite the big names on the ice,
Nystrom will remember the charity
game most for the lives it will change
and the memories he has gathered
from his four years at Michigan.
"If they had a game like this 365
days a year, I'd play in it because of
Mott Hospital," Nystrom said. "I'm
just living in the moment, and I'm out
there with some of my best friends
and some good players."
THE REST OF US HATE OHIO STATE, TOO.
DO YOU KNOW WHO THYARE?
IF YOU'RE CURIOUS,
JOIN DAILY SPORTS.
rimR~nfl v v
University of Michigan
. K A