Fraser’s hockey team is back on the ice in defense of its Macomb Area Conference Blue Division title.
Although coach Don Krussman believes Fraser will be taking to the ice with just 14 players, he is hoping the Ramblers will be able to make up for the smaller roster size with the presence of seniors JR Dellies, Alex Behnke, Jackson Gray, Mitchell Sehi and John Goemaere.
“We’ve got five seniors we expect a lot out of,” he said. “Out of those five seniors, three of them are (in) their third year on the team, and two their fourth. That’s a lot of experience we have between those five guys, and we expect them to step up and play well. They’ve been there (and) know what it takes. I think it’s real important they set the right tone and bring the right approach, so it rubs off on our younger players.”
You can count Behnke as someone who seems ready to embrace his role as one of the team’s leaders and do his part to help the Ramblers take a shot at winning back-to-back league championships.
“I think we have the talent this year (to) have a MAC Blue title,” he said. “I think it’s definitely a goal we can reach. I hope we get it.”
Goemaere, who plays goalie for the Ramblers, would also like to end his senior campaign on a winning note.
“We want to go out, win another MAC Blue title, go undefeated in the division and make it further in the playoffs this year,” he said. “It would be real nice — have another banner up and send the seniors off with a bang.”
Last season’s MAC Blue championship was Fraser’s first since the hockey program was reinstated in approximately 2008, following a 22-year absence. And while Krussman would like to continue to build the program up via a second consecutive league title, he understands doing so will be no easy chore.
Last season, Fraser was one of three teams in the MAC Blue. And although there will be a total of five teams in the division this season, Krussman is more concerned with what the Ramblers are doing than their divisional opponents.
“I expect it to be competitive,” he said. “It’s one of those things, you never really know until you start playing and seeing what teams are like. But for sure, some of those teams will be good. It’s not as important what they do as much as what we do. We worry about ourselves; it’s more than enough.”
The Ramblers’ first home game is scheduled for 8 p.m. Dec. 14 against L’Anse Creuse at Great Lakes Sports City in Fraser.