The Michigan Daily - Monday, August 4, 2003 -- 11
Continued from Page 10
top ones a chance to come to Ann Arbor
for a try-out. From those select 40, the
team is formed.
"I went to the try-out and didn't
expect much," Hensick said. "I didn't
know where I stood against kids around
It turns out he had little to worry
about, and was offered a spot on the
Under-17 team. Little did the coach-
es know the kid with low expecta-
tions would become the team's
biggest offensive force.
Hensick led the squad with 25 goals
and 55 points. The coaches were so
impressed they offered him a spot on
the Under-18 team without a try-out.
Again, they were not disappointed.
"I did pretty well in the program, so
I'm happy for that," Hensick said.
That's an understatement. This
past season, Hensick played in all
58 games for the program, scoring
30 goals and 61 points - nearly
double the next highest point scorer
on his team. The team plays against
some of the top collegiate programs
in the nation, making the feat even
Michigan was one of the teams that
Hensick faced last year, and his squad
got a dose of reality as it was handled
easily, losing 8-2.
"I only played about five minutes in
that game," a dejected Hensick said. "I
hurt my wrist in one of my first shifts."
Despite barely seeing Hensick play in
the game, the Michigan coaching staff
was still confident he was right for the
program. The Wolverines are quite
familiar with the Under-18 team as they
face the talented youth team annually.
"We've had a lot of successful play-
ers from that program," associate head
coach Mel Pearson said.
For example, former Wolverine Andy
Hilbert, also from Hensick's hometown
of Howell, Mich., was a member of the
Under-18 program and now plays in the
Continued from Page 10
But we don't know Marlin Jackson.
We know No. 3. And for that matter,
what made us think that we ever knew
Jackson or any other Wolverine foot-
Each time this happens, we are
shocked. How could he do this (to
us)? And Carr releases that trusty
old statement that he has on file:
"Allegations are serious. No rush to
judgment. The facts will be
revealed. Judgment will be made
based on those facts."
Copy. Paste. Send. Sit and wait. And
don't get me wrong, Carr is in a
toughie. Even though no one on State
Street would ever admit it, there's that
whole beating Ohio State thing to
And I know that's what you are
thinking about. Those Buckeyes
swinging their huge scarlet and
gray flag in the visiting end zone,
celebrating their third-straight win
over That School Up North. Ooooh,
sends shivers up your spine doesn't
I read a funny, yet predictable
quote on a Michigan fan message
board: "The victim must not be a
Michigan football fan. If Marlin
NHL for the Boston Bruins.
Hensick's continued stellar play
throughout the season led him to signa
letter of intent to play for Michigan this
upcoming season. There was one small
catch - he was a junior in high school.
Dawning the Maize and Blue is a big
jump for someone who has just
received his driver's license.
"When you're 15 and sitting in Red
Berenson's office with your mom and
dad as he offers you a full scholarship
to one of the premier college hockey
programs in the nation, it's a little intim-
idating and a weird experience," Hen-
sick said. "I told them I wanted to look
around, but I was only 15."
At that point, Hensick was faced with
another tough decision: enjoy his senior
year in high school or play collegiate
hockey. Following the trail blazed by his
Under-17 teammate and current
Wolverine Al Montoya, he decided to
"Sometimes I look back and ask,
'Why am I graduating early from high
school to play hockey at U-M? I'm
missing my senior year of high school,
which is supposed to be the best time of
your life,"' Hensick said. "But to me,
my passion is hockey, and I love to play.
If I have to give up my social life to
play, then I'll do it."
Sacrificing his social life was nothing
new; the extensive and lengthy road
trips forced Hensick to miss out on
some of the staples of high school.
"Most of the guys on my team did-
n't get to go to prom and football
games on Friday nights; we're on the
road, traveling on a bus to who-
knows-where to play the next game,"
Hensick said with a chuckle. "You
have to give something up to get
something in return."
After seeing the success of Montoya
last season, Pearson is confident Hen-
sick can handle the challenge of balanc-
ing school with hockey.
"A lot of times what you find are kids
that are ready athletically, but not ready
to handle it academically," Pearson said.
"Most of them can handle the athletic,
so usually there are problems academi-
cally. But Hensick has a level of maturi-
ty to handle the extra academic load."
For Hensick, the grind of road trips
was easy to trade in for college hockey
- the question was where he wanted to
play. As a Howell native, Hensick
knows all too well about the intense col-
lege rivalry between Michigan and
Michigan State. Perhaps to the shock of
some Wolverine faithful, East Lansing
was his original choice.
"I was a Michigan State fan growing
up," Hensick said. "I wanted to go there
when I was akid."
But to the delight of Michigan fans,
he chose the Maize and Blue instead.
He offers several reasons for his
choice, mostly focusing on State's
emphasis on defense.
"Their style of hockey isn't for me,"
Hensick said. "I'm pretty much an offen-
sive threat, and Michigan State likes to
play defensive hockey. To me, that would
corrupt my style of play and wouldn't
enhance my game. I wouldn't develop as
well if I went to Michigan State."
In addition to helping his develop-
ment as a player, Michigan also pro-
vides a great academic environment for
him. He hopes to enter Michigan's pres-
tigious business school some day. He
knows it will be tough to balance hock-
ey and B-school classes, but as he
demonstrated in high school, he's up to
"I had a 3.7 cumulative in high
school," Hensick says proudly. "In the
last two years, I've been on the road
probably more than I'll be on the road
And when he's not on the road, he'll
have the fortune of playing on the
friendly side of the Yost Ice Arena
crowd rather than opposing it. He
knows how much of an edge it can be,
having already played against the hos-
tile crowd for the U.S. team.
"It's hell to play against," Hensick
said. "It's different than.any other arena
you're going to go to in the nation. I
played 24 college.teams last year and six
rated in the top 10. I've been in some
binds that have been pretty loud and
noisy, but nothing compared to Yost."
Now that he doesn't need to worry
about upsetting the Yost faithful, Hen-
sick looks to find his niche in the pro-
gram. Although the team hasn't had any
real practices yet, the coaches are excit-
ed about the possibilities of adding a
dynamic offensive threat.
"T.J. is the kind of player who makes
those around him better," Pearson said.
"We'd like toput him ina role where he
can do that. We see him as a powermlav
guy and a points guy - scoring goals
Head coach Red Berenson also feels
that Hensick is a star in the making.
"We think we've got a great young
prospect in T.J. Hensick, who's one of
those players who could be special,"
Berenson said earlier this season. "He's
very skilled and very creative."
A vigorous work ethic has been the
benchmark of Hensick's hockey career,
and has produced strong results so far.
And while it may not work out for most
people, taking the harder path has been
his road to success
Jackson hit me over the head with a
bottle, I'd get up and ask him to
Since when do we expect a 20-year-
old kid to sit above the law because he
plays college football?
The thing that irks me here is that
most of us are not seeking what is
important - the truth. If Jackson
did what he is accused of, he should
not play for Michigan. I don't care
what his options are for getting a
lesser sentence. If Jackson didn't do
it and this 26-year-old man
misidentified him, then obviously
Jackson's name should be dragged
out of the mud and cleaned until it's
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Either he did it, and he is kicked
off the team, or he didn't, and he
plays. Period. No "Well, he pleaded
guilty, so he can still play." I don't
want to hear that anymore.
So, let's seek the truth. Can we han-
dle it? I think we can.
It's the "judgment" I'm afraid of.
J Brady McCollough can be reached at
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