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January 24, 2006 - Image 9

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2006-01-24

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Tuesday
January 24, 2006
sports. michigandaily. com
sports@michigandaily.com

eRTiShigan jaiiu

9

. . .. . ... ..................

Sophomore Coleman
ready to fill lineup gaps

STEVEN TAI/Daily
Senior Brandon Kaleniecki will lead Michigan against Michigan State this Saturday to celebrate Hockey Day in Michigan.
Hockey returns to roots

By Kevin Wright
Daily Sports Writer
When junior Lester Abram limped into the locker room
early in the second half against Minnesota last Saturday, the
Wolverines faced a dilemma.
Who was going to shoot the free throw for him?
Michigan coach Tommy Amaker turned to his bench and
waved for sophomore Ron Coleman to check in. Coleman
stepped to the line and stroked the free throw to extend the Wol-
verines' lead to 11. He finished the night with three points.
Coleman had been called upon in the past. With Michigan's
2004-05 season plagued by injuries and legal problems, Cole-
man - just a freshman - was forced to play a major role in the
Wolverines' gameplan. He responded to the opportunity and
scored in double digits 12 times.
"It was really tough at first," Coleman said. "I didn't expect
to come in and get into the mix like that, but I really had to just
step up and take advantage of the opportunities that I had."
During this past summer, Coleman represented Michigan on
the Big Ten Foreign Touring team when it traveled to Spain. In
five contests, he averaged 13 points per game and gained valu-
able experience.
"(The European players) just taught me to work on
every part of my game," Coleman said. "From the one
through the five, everybody can shoot threes, go to the
rim and put it on the floor. I learned that you have to keep
working on your fundamentals to get your game up to a
certain standard."
And after a freshman campaign in which he started 24
games, including all but one conference contest, Coleman
returned to campus this year expecting to improve.
"Now I know the sets, and I don't have to go out there and
doubt myself at all," Coleman said during Michigan media day
in October. "I know to go out there and play my hardest and
be shot-ready like coach Amaker always tells me to do. I have
confidence now."
Following a season to forget, Coleman and the Wolverines
eagerly waited to return to form this season.
After all, the Wolverines returned an experienced, talented
and healthy team. In addition, Coleman - who had not been
expected to contribute much his freshman season - could only
benefit from the quality minutes he had already played.
Unfortunately for Coleman, circumstances worked against
him.
With Abram healthy again on the wing, Coleman moved
back to the bench. But when junior Brent Petway was declared
academically ineligible for the first semester, Amaker decided
to move the 6-foot-6 wing Coleman to forward to add depth to
the frontcourt.
Coleman struggled with the move to the post. A gifted out-
side shooter - he shot more than 30 percent from behind the
arc his freshman year - Coleman didn't possess the same
comfort level on the blocks.
When Petway returned to Wolverine lineup against Indiana,

By H. Jose Bosch
Daily Sports Writer

The morning air chills the body as a
parent and child make the walk from the
warmth of their car to the frosty atmo-
sphere of the ice rink. Children suit up and
take the ice, and parents gather together
with warm drinks in hand - the steam
rising up into their nostrils and waking
them up.
Children playing hockey at 6 a.m. This
is hockey in Michigan. Old-school hock-
ey.
In four days, various hockey organiza-
tions - including the CCHA - will host
"Hockey Day in Michigan" - an event
celebrating the state's most popular sport.
"If it gets the proper exposure, it could
be great;' Michigan coach Red Berenson
said. "It's good to recognize the grassroots
part of hockey. That's the part I enjoy the
most."
The state of Michigan has been
a hockey hotbed since the 1950s. It
currently has "70,000 registered play-
ers, coaches and officials, and nearly
5,000 registered teams with USA
Hockey," according to a promotional
page on the CCHA website. Those
numbers are the highest of any state
in the nation.
BLUE
AT THE
BOWL
Five former Michigan football play-
ers and one former assistant coach
will participate in Super Bowl XL.

Fifteen of the Wolverines' 26 players
are in-staters, including alternate captain
Brandon Kaleniecki. The Livonia native
enjoyed growing up playing hockey in
Michigan and even remembers his first
moments on the ice, playing for a Dear-
born team at age five.
"My two older brothers started the year
before me," Kaleniecki said. "So, I was
pretty excited to start playing. We watched
a couple of Red Wings games and played
a little street hockey, and I just wanted to
play."
As a child, Kaleniecki could barely
skate up and down the ice, an ability
that opponents wish he still lacked. But
according to him, he was the only child
that could lift the puck. That allowed
Kaleniecki to score early and often, negat-
ing his skating deficiency.
"I scored in my first game," Kalen-
iecki said with a smile. "That was my
best memory of (my first year). I wasn't
a very good skater - I also remember
that. All I could do was shoot the puck.
I just shot it as high as I could, and the
goalies couldn't reach above their head
or anything."
His transformation from a slow and
awkward five-year-old to an alternate
captain for one of the nation's most sto-
ried college hockey programs is just one

example of the triumphs that "Hockey
Day in Michigan" hopes to celebrate.
During the day-long event, hockey
rinks across the state will host their own
activities. Along with local celebration,
Fox Sports Net will provide statewide
exposure of the event - culminating with
Michigan's matchup against Michigan
State at 7:35 p.m. at Joe Louis Arena.
Berenson doesn't mind the TV expo-
sure, but he admits that it can be a dou-
ble-edged sword. Even though it allows
recruits and alumni to follow Michigan
hockey, at season's end, the team will have
played in a record 22 televised games.
And Berenson is not a fan of TV timeouts
interrupting the flow of the game.
"They don't stop NASCAR (for com-
mercials);" Berenson said. "You don't stop
a sport that is a continuous sport. (They
can) find innovative ways to put the com-
mercials in: I don't think we should be
stopping hockey."
The day's festivities will give the sport
even more exposure in Michigan, which
could be a base for the sport to become
bigger nationally.
While thousands of people will enjoy
themselves at rinks across the state on Sat-
urday, it will still be the parents standing
by the rink on those cold mornings that
show the true spirit of the game.

RYAN WEINER/Daily
Sophomore Ron Coleman is averaging 6.5 points per game in
the last two games.
Coleman move back to his natural position of guard.
"I feel more comfortable (at the guard position)," Cole-
man said. "But I see myself as a versatile player. It's going
to take a little work getting back into the guard position,
getting in shape and being able to knock my shot down
when I'm out there."
Even though the he is averaging just four points per
game, Coleman has come on strong during conference play
despite seeing limited playing time . Against Northwest-
ern, Coleman scored eight points and shot a perfect 3-for-3
from the field.
Since Abram may still be sidelined when the Wolverines
take on Michigan State on Wednesday, Amaker will look to
Coleman to help fill that void.
And just like against Minnesota, Coleman will be ready.
"I just know that I have to go out and be a factor," Coleman
said. "Even if I'm coming off the bench, Ijust have to go out and
try to play hard and play to my best."

Boxes and Wals
Tour Registration Now Open
Date/Time: Jan. 19th ---Jan. 27th, 2006
Monday - Friday: 7pm, 8pm, 9pm
Saturday: 1pm, 2pm, 3pm
Location: Video & Performance Studio (Inside Duderstadt Center) North
Campus
Go to www.umich.edu/~umboxes to register for a tour.

COLLEGE HOCKEY'S
aT THE JOE"-Z & 7

Hutchinson LeSueur

All-pro offensive
lineman Steve
Hutchinson is in
his sixth year with
Seahawks. He is
joined by defen-
sive back Jeremy
LeSueur, who is
on the practice
roster, and Alain
Kashama, who
is on the injured
reserve list.

A

F -

Kashama

i

--

7

Foote Tuman
Two former Michigan student ath-
letes play for the Pittsburgh Steel-

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