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Walled Lake

February 27, 2013

Walled Lake Central brings program full circle with North Division title

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
Photo by Patricia O’Blenes Walled Lake Central’s Brendan O’Malley battles for the puck with an Ike player earlier this season. The Vikings claimed the KLAA North Division title this year.

When he first arrived, this was a program sputtering, on and off the ice.

Hockey at Walled Lake Central may have been an afterthought, considering numbers on the varsity were declining, there was no JV program and the team had a 1-9-0 record in the Kensington Lakes Athletic Association’s North Division.

Four years later, John Fritz has watched the program do a complete 180.

And now he’s got the title to prove it.

“We’ve come a long way,” he said simply last week, referencing the team’s 2013 North Division championship. “It’s a pretty big achievement for these guys and for this program. They have a lot to be proud of.”

The Vikings claimed the North title with a 6-1-5 division record. They were 12-7-5 overall at press time with one game remaining in the regular season.

The guys began play in the Division 2 tournament Feb. 25 against Walled Lake Western.

The winner faces Walled Lake Northern or Novi High at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 27 at the Novi Ice Arena.

As for this year, and what led to the division title, Fritz was quick to point to the veteran roster he was able to work with.

“Eleven seniors, most of whom have been here for three or four years now,” he explained. “We had great leadership all season. We’ve consistently gotten better, and the work ethic was where it needed to be all year long.”

The results have reaffirmed the yearly goals Fritz hopes to maintain.

“This has to be the expectation,” he said. “Like I said, we’ve come a long way from where we were. We’ve gotten the numbers up, gotten the JV program going. Seasons like this should be the norm. That’s the aim we have to have.”

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