Members of club team earn spot on all-star team

Georgette Breen-Naylor

The Northern Michigan club hockey team ended their season after losing to Michigan State in a regional tournament game on Saturday, Feb. 23, but, for some members of the team, hockey is still being played.

NMU head coach Carl Trosien was declared the coach of the all-star team for the first time in his collegiate career due to the team’s overall performance this past season.

This tournament represented all of the 12 conferences all star team selections within the ACHA, plus two additional conferences outside of the conference.

Trosien was also able to select a few players based on their performance from last season to join him on his trip to this year’s location for the tournament on Friday, April 5 in West Chester, Pa.

The ’Cats hockey players Trosien chose to go with him were senior forward Kellen Michalak, senior defenseman Evan Weber, senior defenseman Mark Novak, senior center Brad Gicopoulos and sophomore goalie Jeff Ryan.

Ryan ranked in the top 10 among goalies in save percentage this year in the ACHA.

Ryan said he felt that the Western Collegiate Club Hockey Association (WCCHA) was not thought of as highly as it should have been this season because the teams in the WCCHA finished in the top four out of 14 conferences.

“Our conference is definitely underestimated,” Ryan said. “We just fell short of making the championship.”

Novak also said the WCCHA conference should be getting more recognition.

Novak said he didn’t realize how much talent was in their conference until he watched everyone play at the all-star tournament.

“Our conference was one of the most hard working and physical teams in the tournament,” Novak said. “We were able to skate with the top players in the nation.”

During the all-star tournament, the teams play four games over a two day period. Each game is worth five points.

A team gained two points for a win and one point for winning each period in the game.

Trosien said he not only coached his some of his own players but also players from different teams within the WCCHA.

“It was an amazing experience,” Trosien said. “I hope I get to do this again.”

Players from the WCCHA got the opportunity to compare their talent to the nation on the all-star team.

At the end of this all-star tournament, players are selected to join a team that will travel will travel through Europe over Christmas break to play games against other teams.

“If we have a player or two that would be selected to go to Europe that would be great for NMU,” Trosien said. “This is the highest honor for players in the ACHA.”

Trosien’s team finished in a tie for third place and made it to the championship round. Other players were able to be a part of Trosien’s team, but for the ’Cats players that were a part of it, the experience was different.

Novak also said he enjoyed playing with other guys from other schools and it was a opportunity for players from the ’Cats to play on the same team as guys they went against during the season.

“It was a great chance to become friends with a lot of the guys that I have previously played,” Novak said.

The ’Cats were able to receive nationally exposure at this year’s all star game.

“I am very proud of how our team played at the event,” Trosien said. “Based on the performances of the NMU athletes, we showed that we are ready to take the next step toward winning an ACHA national title.”