July 6, 2004
By Sharad Mattu
Daily Sports Editor
Michigan goaltender Al Montoya plans to
decide this week whether to remain with the
Wolverines or leave now with two years of
eligibility remaining to sign with the New
York Rangers, who selected him sixth overall
in the recent NHL Draft and want him to play
this coming season with their top farm club.
"I'll have my decision in five or six days,"
Montoya told The Michigan Daily on Satur-
day. "I'm right in the middle right now."
Losing Montoya would be a huge blow to
the Wolverines, who will have 11 seniors and
expect to contend for the National Champi-
onship this coming season. In his first two
seasons Montoya, Michigan's MVP last year,
has compiled a 56-22-5 record, 2.28 goals-
against average and .914 save percentage.
Montoya's backups, junior Noah Ruden
and sophomore Mike Mayhew, have logged
just 6 percent of the team's goaltending min-
utes the past two seasons. If Montoya were to
leave, the Wolverines would likely scramble
to bring in another goaltender before the fall
term begins in September.
Michigan has grown accustomed to seeing
its players leave early for the NHL. In the last
five years, seven players have left with eligi-
But none have been goaltenders, which is
why losing Montoya would hurt more than
any previous loss. Michigan has seen talents
such as forward Mike Comrie and defense-
now has eyes.
Daily Sports Editor
Peter Vanderkaay never dreamed he would have a chance to go
to the Olympics. Before coming to Michigan.
"I definitely never thought that I would be in this position,
growing up,"Vanderkaay said. "Now that I came to Michigan and
things started to pan out differently, it's definitely a goal now"
What has panned out differently for the sophomore swimmer
has been three individual NCAA titles this year in the 200, 400,
and 1,500-meter freestyle. Vanderkaay will now compete in all
three events at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Long Beach,
California starting on Wednesday.
"I've definitely had a lot of success since I've been (at
Michigan)," Vanderkaay said. "That's probably made the dif-
ference in believing in myself that I could possibly make the
Michigan swimming coach Jon Urbanchek brought Van-
derkaay in from nearby Rochester Adams High School as a dis-
tance swimmer - one of the strengths of the Michigan program
under Urbanchek - but Vanderkaay has branched out into the
shorter 200 and 400-meter freestyle events.
"Traditionally, I came into Michigan swimming distance,"
Vanderkaay said. "I like the 1,500 a lot, but I'm starting to like
the 200 and 400 a lot better also. I don't really have a favorite,
probably whatever one I'm swimming best."
Vanderkaay's attitude may be advantageous as the competition
at the trials will be fierce, especially in the 1,500-meter freestyle.
"The competition in the 1,500 is very tough," Vanderkaay
said. I think I have gotten a little bit better at the 200 and 400. h
the 200 they are going to take the top six (competitors) for
relays, so that might be my best chance"
An NCAA title doesn't guarantee anything for Vanderkaay at
the Olympic Trials, where he will face stiff competition from
professionals and former Olympians. It is possible that Van-
derkaay will have to face U.S. Olympic poster boy and swim-
ming phenom Michael Phelps in the 200 and 400-meter
freestyle races. Phelps is the hottest name in swimming and is
aiming to tie or break Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals
in one Olympics. Phelps has turned professional and holds th
highest endorsement deal in swimming history with Speedo. He
has yet to announce which races he will compete in, so it is
unknown if Vanderkaay will race against him.
Vanderkaay isn't worried about the competition as much as he
is focused on himself. Now that he has the chance to make the
See VANDERKAAY, Page 15
The New York Rangers selected Montoya sixth overall and want him to join their system this year.
man Mike Komisarek leave early, but it had the position has been a key to its success.
capable backups fill in and continued its But those three hadn't accomplished as
streak of consecutive NCAA tournament much as quickly as Montoya has. Though
appearances, which is now at14. Montoya finished high school a year early and
Before Montoya, the Wolverines had three came to Michigan at just 17, he enjoyed imme-
consecutive four-year starting goaltenders in diate success. This past January, Montoya led
Steve Shields, Marty Turco and Josh Black- the United States to the gold medal in the
burn, and the stability the program has had at See MONTOYA, Page 15
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