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August 7, 2013

Hamilton calls Liggett hockey a ‘good situation’ as he takes program over

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

Hamilton

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — For five years, Robb McIntyre transformed the Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett hockey program from an afterthought to a consistent power in Division 3.

Mike Hamilton’s self-proclaimed challenge is now taking the Knights one step further.

“There’s a nice returning team, and a good situation to step into,” said Hamilton, recently hired as the Liggett boys coach. “Robb took this program from nothing and made it a recognized name. Now, it’s on me to take it to the next level.”

Since playing at Minnesota State University from 1991-1993, Hamilton has spent plenty of time behind the bench.

He worked in the Little Caesars league for three years and then spent 12 years in the Honeybaked Hockey Club.

His most recent stop was with the Michigan Ice Hawks.

“We are pleased to have hired an experienced coach to lead our program forward,” Trey Cassidy, Liggett’s head of upper school, said in a press release. “Coach Hamilton understands the game and has tremendous connections in hockey. He will be an important ambassador for our hockey program and for the values of University Liggett School.”

“You really couldn’t ask for a better guy to take over than Mike,” said McIntyre, who chose to step down after the 2013 season but has assisted in Hamilton’s transition. “He comes in with a ton of experience at different levels, and I think he has the chance to do some real special things with the guys he’s got coming back.”

McIntyre was a coach that approached the game a bit more laid back than most.

He let his players do their thing, more or less, and it certainly worked.

The Knights won the D-3 state title two years ago before going 17-11 and reaching last season’s quarterfinal round — an eventual loss to Cranbrook, the 2013 state champ.

Hamilton said he’ll be a bit more hands-on.

“I think I’m a lot different than Robb,” he said. “I’m big on X’s and O’s. I like to read and react, and change plans based on what other teams are doing. We’re going to study a lot of film and be specific with practice. The flexibility for the players to do their thing will still be there, but it’s going to be a different style.”

Hamilton, 40, said he’s anxious to get going.

He knows state championships need to be an expectation, and even hinted about trying to bump up to D-2 in the near future.

“That’s all part of what I want to do,” he explained. “But I also want to see more kids from this team and this area continue their careers at the next level. I want us to be a program where, every season, we are sending kids from the Grosse Pointes onto the college and junior ranks.”

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mike Moore at mmoore@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1038. Twitter Follow Mike on Twitter.