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MIHL set to host its 17th annual showcase event

By: Mike Moore | C&G Newspapers | Published January 27, 2017

 Jack Clark, of Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, dives along the ice while trying to poke the puck away from Birmingham Brother Rice’s Dominick DiPonio earlier this season. St. Mary’s and Rice are set to take part in the MIHL Showcase Feb. 2-4 in Trenton.

Jack Clark, of Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, dives along the ice while trying to poke the puck away from Birmingham Brother Rice’s Dominick DiPonio earlier this season. St. Mary’s and Rice are set to take part in the MIHL Showcase Feb. 2-4 in Trenton.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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TRENTON — What began as a small event with a handful of teams has now blossomed into one of the premier events of the high school hockey season — the state playoffs notwithstanding.

Another year, another Michigan Interscholastic Hockey League Showcase set to launch.

“We look forward to this event every year,” said Andy Weidenbach, coach of Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood and president of the MIHL. “It’s a lot of work, with over a 150 volunteers. Really, it takes a village to get this done, but it’s something we really look forward to.”

The first showcase was held 16 years ago and featured just the teams in the MIHL at the time.

Since then, the event has grown and grown, welcoming in only the top squads from across the state.

This year’s event, which runs Feb. 2-4 at the Kennedy Recreation Center in Trenton, features teams from Ohio and Wisconsin as well.

“The competition is going to be very strong, as always,” Weidenbach said. “It’s a great lineup of teams.”

According to a league press release, the top six ranked teams from Division 1, the top 10 teams in D-2 and eight of the top 10 ranked teams by the Michigan High School Hockey Coaches Association will be on hand for the showcase.

Every team plays two games.

“The selection process is getting more challenging as the level of play in Michigan high school hockey advances,” said Scott Lock, an assistant coach at Cranbrook and chairman of the selection committee. “In order to attract the scouting community, which is essential to meeting one of the objectives, we need quality teams and high-skill-level players participating in the showcase.”

Three teams — Riverview Gabriel Richard, St. Ignatius (Ohio) and Romeo High — will make their first appearance at the event, while five others — Livonia Churchill, Allen Park High, Rochester Hills Stoney Creek, Forest Hills Northeast and Novi High — are returning after missing the past few.

“It provides us the opportunity to play in two really competitive games,” said Novi coach Mark Vellucci. “We have 17 players returning this season, and the showcase will give them valuable exposure to the scouting community. Our players will be excited and proud to represent Novi. As a coach, I am really looking forward to it.”

Aside from competitive hockey, the scouting aspect may be the biggest factor for players looking to continue their career at the next level — whatever that may be. 

“The plan is to always have an abundance of scouts in the stands to give our kids as much exposure as possible,” Weidenbach said.

At last year’s event, scouts representing every United States Hockey League and North American Hockey League team were in attendance, as were a number of collegiate scouts and representatives from six NHL teams.

“With all the scouts, it’s a great opportunity for individual players to get that exposure,” said Warren De La Salle coach Craig Staskowski. “At the same time, we get to meet up with coaches and talk about the game and the season and hear some concerns or what needs to be changed. And as the host league, you take a lot of pride in this being your league and the premier event of the season.”

Tickets for the event can be purchased at the door.

Active-duty military personnel and their families receive free admission.

For more information, including game times, visit mihl.org.


Bringing the best together
The 17th Michigan Interscholastic Hockey League Showcase is set to launch Feb. 2-4 at the Kennedy Recreation Center in Taylor.
Here’s a quick look at the teams competing in the annual event. Each squad plays two games, and schedule information can be found at mihl.org. Teams from the C & G Newspapers coverage area are in bold.

• Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood
• Novi Detroit Catholic Central
• Birmingham Brother Rice
• Warren De LaSalle
• Grosse Pointe North

• Allen Park High
• Brighton High
• Calumet High
• Flint Powers High
• Forest Hills North Eastern
• Riverview Gabriel Richard
• Grand Rapids Catholic Central
• Grand Rapids Christian
• Granville High
• Grosse Pointe South
• Hancock High
• Hartland High
• Houghton High
• Livonia Churchill
• Livonia Stevenson
• Mona Shores High
• Orchard Lake St. Mary’s
• Port Huron Northern
• Trenton High
• U of D Jesuit
• Northville High
• Notre Dame Academy (WI)
• Novi High
• Plymouth High
• Rochester Unified
• Romeo High
• Plymouth Salem
• St. Francis (Toledo)
• St. Ignatius (Cleveland)
• Saginaw Heritage
• Sault Ste. Marie
• Rochester Hills Stoney Creek
• Traverse City Central
• Gross Pointe Woods University Liggett
• Wyandotte-Roosevelt

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