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March 11, 2011 - Image 7

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0The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Friday, March 11, 2011- 7

'The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Friday, March 11, 2011 - 7

Chad Langlais: The ultimate road trip
to an unknown milestone

By Mark Burns
Doily Sports Editor

"I told the boys, 'If you want to that needed to be made for the
continue playing hockey, you got Langlais' on-ice development.
a few options. You could go to the It was a decision that ultimately
Western Hockey League - the sparked one twin's - Chad's -
optionfor kids in Spokane, (Wash.). transition to the Michigan hockey
Or, you could go to the British team.
Columbia Hockey League and billet "Our parents told us we could
with a host family and play junior come home whenever we wanted,
hockey in Canada and then go to and there were a few times when
college. Or, you could go to a prep (Chase and I) wanted to come
school.'And they said, 'We want to home," Chad said.
go to a prep school.'" "But we stuck it out because we
It was about 10 years ago, thought it was the best opportu-
and Larry Langlais was beyond nity for us.
ecstatic. "It took a year to get comfort-
His two twin sons, Chad and able there, but after that, I loved
Chase, had just received accep- it."
tance into the Athol Murray Col-
lege of Notre Dame, a prep school ***
that pumps out future NCAA,
Canadian and NHL talent at an Former Detroit Red Wing
astonishing rate. defenseman Chris Chelios was an
Current NHL stars Vincent honorary team scout for Michigan
Lecavalier and Rene Borque are coach Red Berenson and the Wol-
just two of the products of Notre verines one day back in Chad Lan-
Dame. glais' senior year.
There was just one problem: Chelios had a son playing along-
the prep school was located in the side Langlais, and he felt the need
Canadian province of Saskatch- to contact Michigan assistant
ewan, where the average tempera- coach Mel Pearson.
ture in the dead of winter hovers When Pearson watched Lan-
between -3 and 20 degrees Fahr- glais play, he saw a "highly skilled,
enheit. creative, good skating defense-
But, Larry did his research and man."
consulted a few members of the "That's just what he's been for
Spokane Chief', coachig g staff, us here at Michigan, Pearson
a team that plays in the' Western said.
Hockey League in the northwest- But before making the 45-min-
ern part of the United States and ute commute from Bloomfield
Canada. Hills to Ann Arbor, Langlais need-
The news he received was dis- ed a few more years to develop.
heartening to saythe least. For two seasons, he and cur-
"Have you ever been to Sas- rent Michigan backup netminder
katchewan in February?" the Bryan Hogan played for the Lin-
Chiefs' coach asked Larry. "Don't coln Stars in the United States
send your kids to that school." Hockey League - the premiere
With that negative response, Junior 'A' hockey league in the
Larry and his two boys had to find country.
a new home. And after purchasing Since Langlais had the experi-
a copy of the Prep School Hockey ence of living on his own for four
Guide - a comprehensive text years in an unfamiliar environ-
detailing some of the country's ment, it was a slightly easier tran-
premiere boarding schools - and sition from high school to junior
conducting more investigative hockey.
work, they came across one school "What helped niord than any-
that made sense. thing is (Chad's) maturity," Larry
Cranbrook Kingswood, located said. "If we sent a 15-year-old kid
in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. and that far away and there was some
home of legendary coach, Andy issues and there were some prob-
Weidenbach. lems, then we'd be questioning
"I talked to Andy Weidenbach, ourselves. We'd be saying, 'You're
and the things he said was music coming home, you're not going to
to my ears," Larry said. play hockey away from home"'
Cranbrook's hockey program The stop in Nebraska ended
won more MHSAA state titles with Langlais tallying 10 goals
(15) than any team in the state of and 58 assists in 110 games for the
Michigan, and it would be Chad Stars.
and Chase's home from 2001-05. He learned to utilize his 5-foot-
"I wasn't sure where hockey 9 frame to his advantage against
was going to take them, but I bigger and stronger players.
thought the best thing I could Through body positioning and
do for themwas to give them the by using his smarts, he would
best education and give them an
opportunity to play," Larry said.
"I think that's what we did."
For four years, the Langlais
twins dominated the Michigan
hockey landscape, with Chad
and Chase each landing them-
selves on the Dream Team - a
selection of the six best high
school players in Michigan -
twice.
But the decision to attend YOUR THREE
Cranbrook wasn't easy.
However, it was a decision RE O M

become that much more success-
ful at the Division-I level.
In Sept. 2007, Langlais arrived
in Ann Arbor along with three
other freshmen defensemen -
Scooter VaughanKevinQuickand
Tristin Llewellyn. The incoming
class totaled 12, and with the huge
crop of first-year players came the
obvious uncertainty of who would
play on any given night.
For Chad Langlais, that ques-
tion was answered within his first
season in Ann Arbor.
The line charts go up on the
board prior to any contest for the
Wolverines - 18 players and two
goalies.
During Langlais' initial year
donning the maize and blue
sweater, the uncertainty of not
being one of 20 lessened after
every subsequent game. At the end
of the year, he found himself play-
ing in all 43 games for the Wolver-
ines, registering zero goals and 19
assists to go along with an impres-
sive plus-22 rating.
b Fast forward to today.
In his current senior year, the
former high school standout has
played in every single game for
Michigan since his first contest
against Boston College on Oct. 12,
2007 -165 games to be exact.
While the other three freshmen
defensemen found themselves
being rotated in and out, Langlais
was the lone Wolverine on the
back end who earned a spot in the
lineup every night.
"When the coaches write the
lineup on the board, you don't
even glance, you expect to be
there," Pearson said of Langlais,
following his freshman year.
And barring any unforeseen
circumstances, Langlais will
become Michigan's all-time
leaderinmostconsecutivegames
played on Saturday.against
Bowling Green. 'He'"Il 'fss Tim
Miller and Travis Turnbull, who
both set the record in 2008-09
with 166 consecutive games.
"It's good that he's been con-
sistent enough to be in the lineup
night after night,"Berenson said.
"I think what really happened is
he got off to a good start when
he got here. He showed, of those
four freshmen defensemen, he
was a step ahead of the other
ones. He had a little bit more
experience, and he played really
well.
"He was the one who got off
the hook because we gave him
the benefit of the doubt. He was

JAKE eOMM/Daily
Senior defenseman Chad Langlais should break Michigan's all-time games played record of 166 games on Saturday.

a little older and it looked like he
was more ready."
Through the last two sea-
sons, Langlais has played against
opposing teams' top lines, with
Berenson saying the two years
with Lincoln in the USHL signifi-
cantly helped his overall develop-
ment.
When he asked about his soon-
to-be milestone, Langlais said he
didn't even know he was about to
break it.

"What's the record?" Langlais
asked earlier last week, sitting in
the Michigan coach's lounge.
Similarly, Pearsonsaid he didn't
realize the historical implications
of the weekend-series at Yost Ice
Arena.
But come Saturday, everyone
will know who the new Mr. Iron-
man is at Michigan.
"I guess you're so focused as
coaches in preparing for games
and winninggames that you might

think about it in passing, but you
don't put a lot of stock in it," Pear-
son said. "We're trying to put the
best team on the ice every night.
I think after the fact, once maybe
his career is over and you look
back and say, 'Wow, that's a quite
an accomplishment for anybody.'
"Number one, just to stay
healthy and not be sick and all the
things that can happen. Number
two, then, playing well enough to
stay in the lineup."

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Spring Commencement.

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