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Grosse Pointe South boys hockey seeks ultimate prize

By: Mark Vest | Grosse Pointe Times | Published December 20, 2016

Grosse Pointe South boys hockey coach Bobby McKillop said he thinks the program has lost a total of three games in the Michigan Metro Hockey League in the last three years.

At press time, South was ranked No. 5 in the state in Division 2 and 5-1-1 overall after winning a tournament hosted by Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett.

While those are nice achievements — and McKillop will take them — he is searching for more.

“We have one goal — it’s to win a state title,” McKillop said. “That’s what you play the game for. … We’ve had success in our league, but let’s not fool ourselves. Our success in the league isn’t what we’re after. … Our short term goal is to win the Metro League and our long-term goal is to compete for a state title.”

Senior Adam Pitters is thinking along the same lines as his coach.

“We also want the ultimate prize,” he said. “We practice hard every day. … We have some tough teams to beat, but we think we can do it.”

Due to scheduling nonconference games from teams in the Michigan Interscholastic Hockey League, which McKillop thinks is the best league in the state, he considers South’s schedule to be one of the toughest in Michigan.

Fortunately for South, its strengths can help put the program in a strong position to hold its own.

”It’s our overall team speed,” McKillop said of one of those strengths. “We have some dynamic players; high-level players that can do some special things. When those guys are on, we’re really good. We got a lot more depth than we’re used to having.”

Among South’s assets is Pitters, who is the team captain, along with assistants Adam Cervone, Jack Flynn and Jack Liagre.

“Those are great, quality hockey players and great, quality individuals,” McKillop said. “They’re good young men. They know what their roles are. They need to be leaders on and off the ice, at their school, in their community. They need to be guys that everybody can look up to and emulate on a day-to-day basis. I’m very fortunate to have that particular group.”

McKillop said he is very happy with where South is at, and is hoping to keep the program going in a positive direction.

He credited graduates of the program for the spot South finds itself in.

“The alumni that have walked through those doors and the group of young men that I’ve been able to coach over the last — this is my fifth year here — they’ve put us in a really good spot,” McKillop said. “It doesn’t come from the work we’ve done today, it comes from the work we’ve done over the last five years to get us in the position that we’re in. … This program has gotten to where it’s at because of those kids, and we’re fortunate to have the group of kids and the families that are involved in this hockey program.”

South’s current group of players has an opportunity to create their own special legacy.

“No one really cares about the championships you won along the way — the Metro League titles, how many games you win and where you’re ranked,” McKillop said. “It all comes down to where you finish when it’s all said and done. … This is a special group and they can do some big things.”

South plays Riverview Gabriel Richard at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 23 at Allen Park Civic Center.