Grosse Pointe South junior Lauren Benoit skates with the puck in a game Jan. 4. At press time, the Blue Devils had a 7-0 overall record.

Grosse Pointe South junior Lauren Benoit skates with the puck in a game Jan. 4. At press time, the Blue Devils had a 7-0 overall record.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

Grosse Pointe South girls hockey expecting big things

By: Zachary Manning | Grosse Pointe Times | Published January 8, 2019


GROSSE POINTES — The Grosse Pointe South girls hockey program has become as close to a dynasty as you can get.

After all, the Blue Devils have won 13 Michigan Metro Girls High School Hockey League state championships since 1997. Their most recent title came a season ago, as they knocked off Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood.

This season, South is expecting more of the same. The Blue Devils’ goal is to be hoisting up yet another state championship trophy when all is said and done. However, they know it won’t be easy.

“I think anytime you’re defending anything, there’s a target on your back, and there’s more pressure for that. That could be bad, it could be good. We can hopefully use it to our advantage and feed off of it and be in the position to play for that title again,” Blue Devils coach John Weidenbach said.

The second-year coach has been preaching to his team that no one is bigger than the program. That team-first mentality has allowed the Blue Devils to get off to a fast start. At press time, South was 7-0 overall.

The Blue Devils are being led by senior center Alyssa Czech, senior goalie Madeline Kelly, senior defenseman Madison Ryszewski, junior forward Lauren Benoit and freshman forward Molly Ryszewski.

Molly Ryszewski leads the team with 19 goals and 12 assists, while Benoit has 11 goals and 11 assists. Czech and Madison Ryszewski have combined for seven goals and seven assists. In net, Kelly has won six games.

Madison Ryszewski, Kelly and Czech are the captains of the team, and they think this group has what it takes to win another title. To ensure that they reach their goal, the captains want to see the team get better defensively, but they believe chemistry has been a strong point of the squad.

“Last year, we came out and won the state championship. That’s been the goal my four years I’ve been here, so we look like we have a really strong team so far, and that’s the goal again,” Czech said. “We’re coming together. We have a lot of new people, but everyone’s coming together really well and working together as a team better than it has been in the past, so I think it’s going really well.”

Winning has become a common theme for the Blue Devils over the years, but that doesn’t mean another state championship wouldn’t be special. For the girls on the team, being able to claim another title would mean everything.

“This is my fourth year playing hockey, so having two championships, it would be amazing. It would just be absolutely amazing,” Kelly said.

Outside of winning another state championship, Weidenbach has been working to get girls hockey recognized by the Michigan High School Athletic Association.

“We’ve made some headway thus far behind the scenes talking to them and opened up the door so that the conversation is now open as opposed to before when it wasn’t even started,” Weidenbach said. “My end-all goal for this program and every program that currently has a team and would like to have a team is to get recognized by the MHSAA as a high school sport so that when we raise the banner and it says state champion, it really means that you’re a state champion because the Michigan High School Athletic Association has put their moniker on there.”

Catch the Blue Devils on the ice at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 11 at East Side Hockey Arena against Bloomfield Hills High.