Lakers hockey building for what could be bright future

By: Mike Moore | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published December 15, 2017

 West Bloomfield High’s Matthew Ladoucuer (22) moves the puck during a game against Utica High earlier this season. The Lakers were 2-4-1 at press time, but have been playing better of late.

West Bloomfield High’s Matthew Ladoucuer (22) moves the puck during a game against Utica High earlier this season. The Lakers were 2-4-1 at press time, but have been playing better of late.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

WEST BLOOMFIELD — Youth. Talent. Potential. 

Three key ingredients. 

And while the order they appear in may be interchangeable, they’re what West Bloomfield High hockey coach Logan McLean is working with this winter.

A year from now, he sees the youth portion of that dropping off and being replaced with experience.

“Everything we’re doing and learning right now is a bonus for the future,” McLean said. 

The Lakers are operating with a 16-man roster, and eight of those players are sophomores and four more are juniors.

The team was just 2-4-1 at press time, but it has already taken some serious steps forward, according to its coach.

“We’ve come out of our shell a bit,” McLean said. “It’s been nice to see.”

His example backed his words.

In a Nov. 18 contest against Birmingham Unified, the Lakers were blitzed 8-1 and outshot 52-12. In a rematch Dec. 9, Birmingham used a couple of power-play goals to earn a 4-2 victory.

“Truthfully, I felt like we outplayed them,” McLean said. “But that was the perfect example of what I want to see. You could tell things were better. We’re doing the little things now to get this going in the right direction.”

It will take time, which McLean and his guys understand.

On the back end, with five defensemen and two goalies, there’s not one senior in the mix.

“And I’m real happy with how those guys have played so far,” McLean said. “That’s another huge advantage for us moving forward.”

Still, as McLean was quick to point out, there’s a strong desire to win, no matter how young his team may be.

And the Lakers have been close. Other than the Birmingham loss, the other three setbacks were by two goals or less, including an overtime loss to a five-win Clarkston High team.

“My big thing for this year is competing in every single game,” McLean said, as the Lakers play in the Oakland Activities Association White Division. “Our schedule isn’t easy, but we feel we can beat just about anyone we play. We have to stay in the games, hang around the standings while competing for the upper half (of the division).”

The long-term prognosis remains strong if the Lakers can weave their way through this season the right way.

“We could be a team to beat in the division, and I believe that,” McLean said of the next few years. “Some of the top teams in our division are senior heavy, with varsity experience. That’s where we plan to be next year. With our youth, we expect to be a team at the top.”