Three players chosen for ACHA DII Select Team

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Senior Ryan Welch takes a faceoff in a past game

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GVL Archive Senior Ryan Welch takes a faceoff in a past game

Joe Maher-Edgin

Three players and the head coach from the Grand Valley State University Division II club men’s ice hockey team were chosen to be a part of the 21-man roster of the American Collegiate Hockey Association Division II select team on Sunday.

Senior forward Ryan Welch, junior forward CJ Pobur and junior defender Shane McCusker will meet with their teammates from around the country next month in Albany, N.Y., along with head coach Mike Forbes, who was chosen to join the coaching staff as an assistant.

Each of the players selected were required to apply to play for the ACHA selects. Most players were then evaluated at the 2011 ACHA All-Star game prior to selection.

“Our guys chose not to attend the showcase game because our season was essentially over,” Forbes explained. “They were part of the selection process just by competing in the National Tournament.”

The GVSU men’s hockey team competed in the ACHA National Tournament last March, defeating Michigan State University 6-1 for its first ACHA Division II National Championship.

Forbes said he supports all three of his selected players and feels they have what it takes to compete on an international level.

“With international rink sizes, skating is going to be at a premium,” Forbes said. “CJ came off a pretty good season last year … he had a good year points wise. He’s a solid two-way performer and a great skater, and I think that will be a great benefit to the team when we get over to Europe.”

Probur said he is especially honored to join a list of familiar players, both from his past and present.

“I know a few names who have been on a previous team and they’re all really talented guys … Some of them I’ve actually played with,” Probur said. “It’s just a huge honor to be involved in something with them and being selected to do that.”

Probur said he will feel right at home along side his Lakers’ teammates and coach.

“Having Forbes there will be huge and going into it having two guys that you’ve played with all year will help with the comfort level,” Probur said. “Welch is our captain, and he has been a solid forward on this team for five years, so he’s definitely shooting to be effective on the team.”

Welch said he is looking forward to playing alongside McCusker, who will look to bring his physicality to the selects.

“Shane is one of the toughest guys I’ve played with and a great intimidator,” Welch said about his teammate. “You see him in the locker room and he’s a excellent guy … A very, very nice guy, but when he gets on the ice, he changes. He moves the puck well and he’s just a hard-nosed defender.”

Forbes shared similar sentiments for McCusker, calling him “a beast” in his play last year.

“At the National Tournament last year he really dominated whenever he got on the ice,” Forbes said. “He’s a big physical body that is an exceptional skater and has as good speed as anybody in the ACHA. He’s the type of shut-down defenseman that any team would look for, which is why I think he was selected.”

The three Lakers and the rest of the players, representing 18 ACHA Division II colleges and universities, will tour Europe from Dec. 27 to Jan. 5. The team will play five games against teams from Austria, Germany, Slovenia and Croatia.

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