D-II club finalizes roster

GVL Archive
Senior Ryan Welch

GVL Archives

GVL Archive Senior Ryan Welch

With their long-awaited roster finalized, the Grand Valley State University Division II club hockey team are setting their expectations high, and for good reason.

After achieving their first ACHA National Championship title last year, many of the team’s top players have graduated, including forward Jeff Anonick, defender Jake Ochsner, and goalie Grant Lyon.

For weeks, the prospective players for this season engaged in intensive tryouts, which were presided over by third-year head coach and 2010-11 ACHA Men’s Division II Coach of the Year, Mike Forbes.

“Essentially what we do is we have six sessions of tryouts and the guys play games,” Forbes said. “Most of the assessment is done by watching players in game situations, just paying attention to their competition level and their skill level and whether or not they can maintain a high level of play for all six games.”

From this process a team emerged that included all 16 returning members of last year’s team, as well as eight new freshmen. The newcomers to the team include forwards Jacob Endicott, Brad Wilhelm, and Ian Hamilton.

“My expectation is that we always compete at the highest level possible and that we represent Grand Valley and represent ourselves with dignity,” Forbes said. “My goal every year is to go to the National Tournament. It’s not that this season will be a failure if we don’t do that, but that is an attainable goal.”

However, before any of this can be achieved, said returning forward Brad Keough, the team must work on coming together as a group.

“Last year, our team was very close knit,” Keough said. “I’d like to see that happen again first and then, obviously, we’d like to go back to Nationals and make another run at it. But I think our first step is to come together as a team, that’s the reason we had so much fun and we did so well in the first place.”

In the coming days before the season opener at Eastern Michigan University, the team will continue to work together in rigorous practices that aim to incorporate the new players into the team. The Lakers are becoming a cohesive whole, on and off the ice.

As returning defender Craig Marrett says, the freshmen are already a part of the Laker family.

“They just eventually become another member, another player, and eventually another brother to these guys,” said Marrett.

Like the rest of the team, Marrett is optimistic about the upcoming season, and looks forward to playing again.

“We can’t expect of ourselves anything lower than repeating the National Championship, coming off our first ever championship title for this program,” Marrett said. “We can’t expect anything less from here on out.”

The Lakers’ season opener will take place on Sept. 23 at Eastern Michigan University. The puck will drop at 10 a.m.

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