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A more indepth look at the Minnesota Junior Hockey League's Great Lakes Division - Junior Hockey News


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Published: Wednesday, 27 Jun 2012
By: Amanda Marie Liesinger

Also: Two Showcases also announced

The Minnesota Junior Hockey League in expanding with 8 unique teams from the Great Lakes Areaalso acquired each teams' unique character, talented personnel, and dynamic community. Here is an in-depth look at all of those aspects, one team at a time.

Wooster Oilers
Home Arena: Alice Noble Ice Arena, Wooster, OH

The Oilers played in three junior hockey leagues before joining USA Hockey in 2010, winning the Knox Cup in 2009. The Oilers moved to the Great Lakes Junior Hockey League (GLJHL), playing the 2010 and 2011 seasons with 9 other teams.
The Wooster Oilers staff consists of:
Greg Shantery - President/General Manager (since April 2012)
Valentino Hernandez - Head Coach/Assistant General Manager (since April 2012)
Chris Ranney, M.D. - Team Physician (since April 2012)
Wayne Gerrick - Team Athletic Trainer (since 2010)
Walter Conrad - Finance Manager (since 2010)
Deb Conrad - Housing Coordinator (since 2010)
Vonda Matthews - Advertising/Promotions (since 2010)
Cheryl Kirkbride - Legal Advisor/College Coordinator (since 2010)

The Oiler's home arena is located in Wooster, OH, a town of 26,000 people located in Wayne County just between Columbus and Cleveland. It's known for its agriculture and The College of Wooster, which is also home to the Ohio Light Opera and the Wooster Symphony Orchestra. There is also a significant Amish Community in Wayne County, part of the triangle of counties (Holmes, Tuscarawas) that are home to the largest Amish population in the world. There is a vast system of hiking trails in Wooster Memorial Park and the Secrest Arboretum, Ohio State University's primary research arboretum, gets 10,000 visitors a year. The daily newspaper, The Daily Record, the weekly newspaper The Wooster Weekly News, and the magazine WoosterGrapevine.com provide local news and announcements.

 
Fort Wayne Federals
Home Arena: Canlan Ice Sports, Fort Wayne, IN

The Federals formed in 2010 after Head Coach Kevin Shupenia was offered the opportunity to start a new franchise in the Great Lakes Junior Hockey League (GLJHL). He had previously coached two seasons with the Chicago Jr. Bulldogs. Shupenia stated that the Federals' first year was a struggle, as they finished with a 10-30 record. However, the second season proved to be an improvement. They finished with a 34-9-1-1 record, second overall in the league, and earned a trip to the USA Hockey National Tournament.

The Fort Wayne Federal staff consists of:
Kevin Shupenia - Head Coach/General Manager (since 2010)
Konstantin Shafranov - Assistant Coach (since 2010)
Susie Thomas - Billet Supervisor (Since 2012)

The Federals' home arena is in Fort Wayne, IN, located in Allen County with a population of 250,000 people. Located along the St. Joseph River, Fort Wayne is equidistant from Chicago, Cincinnati, and Detroit. Considered a center for manufacturing, employers such as General Electric, Magnavox, Westinghouse and International Harvester are based out of Fort Wayne. The city has various festivals throughout the year including Germanfest, Three Rivers Festival, and Greek Fest. It's also home to Indiana University -Purdue University Fort Wayne. Fort Wayne has a large library system consisting of the largest public genealogy department in the US. There are currently four minor league franchises in-- soccer (Fever - Premier Development League), hockey (Komets - East Coast Hockey League), basketball (Mad Ants - NBA development league), and baseball (Tin Caps - Midwest League).

 
Tri City IceHawks
Home Arena: Bay County Civic Arena, Bay City, MI

General Manager Colleen Dore and President Arthur Dore started the IceHawks in 2008 after they were approached by another team owner to start a franchise in the Great Lakes Junior Hockey League (GLJHL). They also had two sons playing hockey in Boston MA and saw the opportunity to bring a team to their hometown and keep local talent in Bay City. They placed three out of four seasons in the GLJHL playoffs before they joined the Minnesota Junior Hockey League.
 
The IceHawks' staff consists of:
Arthur M Dore - President/Owner/Asst. Coach
Colleen M Dore - General Manager/Owner/Secretary
Joe Ledesma - Head Coach
Eric Albrecht - Assistant Coach
Thomas (Wally) Wojciechowski - Assistant Coach/Development Coach
Jeremy Blohm - Manager
Mary McGuire-Kolak - Billet Supervisor

The IceHawks' home arena is in Bay City, MI, a town located near the Saginaw Bay on Lake Huron. The 'Tri City' name comes from the association with nearby Saginaw and Midland. Bay City has a population of 35,000 and is well known in Michigan for its festivals during the summer months: 4th of July Fireworks Festival, St. Patrick's Day Parade, River Roar (Formula 1 boat racing), and the Pig Gig, a national BBQ cook-off contest. It's also the economic base for General Motors Corp/Powertrain, Dow Corning Corp., and S.C. Johnson Inc. The State Theatre, built in 1908, is located in downtown Bay City and the main newspaper is the Bay City Times. The Bay City State Recreation Area is home to the Tobico Marsh, on of the largest remaining freshwater, coastal wetlands on the Great Lakes.


Wisconsin Rampage
Home Arena: RecPlex Ice Arena, Pleasant Prairie, WI

The Rampage started in 2009 by John and Dawn Blankenship as part of the Great Lakes Junior Hockey League (GLJHL). The Blankenships started the team because they say the need in Pleasant Prairie for a junior hockey program that had only one "True" purpose: to help players move on to higher levels and continue their education through the sport of hockey. The Rampage qualified for playoffs all four seasons, finishing their final season in the GLJHL with a record of 33-12-1-1.

The Rampage's staff consists of:
John Blankenship - President/Owner/General Manager (since 2009)
George Bessett - Head Coach (since 2011)
Rick Wolf - Assistant Coach (since 2012)
Phil Ryan - Goalie Coach (since 2010)
Dawn Blankenship - Business Manager/Owner (since 2009)
Dan Heflin - Vice President/Treasurer (since 2009)
Ruth Heflin - Secretary (since 2009)
Bob Marfechuk - Billet Supervisor (since 2009)
Will Robertson - Trainer/ Equipment Manager) (since 2012)

The Rampage's home arena is in Pleasant Prairie, WI, a town of 16,000 people located on the shores of Lake Michigan between Chicago and Milwaukee. Four neighborhoods are associated with Pleasant Prairie: Carol Beach - home to the Chiwaukee Prairie, a 400 acre marsh, Dexter's Corner, Ranney, and Tobin neighborhoods. Pleasant Prairie's economy is also based on manufacturing, with the Pleasant Prairie Power Plant generating 13% of Wisconsin's energy. RecPlex is also a significant Recreation Facility located on Lake Andrea in Prairie Springs Park that not only houses the Rampage but provides a range of services, events and classes. Pleasant Prairie has two triathalons and the Prairie Family Days festival every year.
 

Chicago Jr Bulldogs
Home Arena: Canlan Ice Sports, Romeoville, IL

The Chicago Jr Bulldogs started in 2008 to fill the footprint that was vacated by a team in the Central States Hockey League.The Bulldogs started as the Chicago Jr Huskies from 2008 to 2010 and went by the Chicago Hitmen in 2010-11 before settling on their current name. Collectively the Bulldogs have won the USA Hockey Junior C National Championships in 2009, have had 4 straight USA Hockey Junior National Tournament appearances, were the GLJHL league champions for three seasons and Lakes Cup Champions for 2 seasons.

The Bulldogs' staff consists of:
Ken Kestas - General Manager/President (since 2008)
Tom Clark - Head Coach (since 2010)
Bill Hough - Assistant Coach (since 2008)
Laura Kestas - CFO (since 2008)
Tony Kestas - Equipment Manager (since 2008)
Andrew Maclenan - Assistant Equipment Manager (since 2012)

The Bulldogs's home arena is in Romeoville, IL is located in the southwest suburban area of Chicago with 37,000 people. Gerald Coleman, a goaltender with the Lake Erie Monsters and Tampa Bay Lightning was born there. Romeoville is home to Lewis University, a Catholic University and a branch of Joliet Junior College.

 
Central Wisconsin Saints
Home Arena: Willet Ice Arena, Stevens Point, WI

Formerly the Mid Wisconsin Saints, the team started in 2008 as part of the local Youth Organization. They placed 4th in the western division of the GLJHL in 2009, final 4 in 2010, and 4th in the 2011-12 season.

The Saints' staff consists of:
Joe Zuniga - President and GM (since 2008)
Mark Vichorek - Head Coach (since 2010)
Cameron Geelan - Assistant Coach (since 2010)
Diane Zuniga - Secretary/Treasurer (since 2009)
Mike Grote - Operations Director (since 2009)
Adam Quaidashat - Webmaster (since 2011)
Pat Cooney - Billet Director (since 2012)

The Saints' home arena is located in Stevens Point, WI, a town north of Madison with 27,000 people. It's home to the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point branch and a campus of Mid-State Technical College. Stevens Point is also known for its hunting, fishing, and other recreational activities both in the summer and wintertime, along with a 24-mile walkway call the Green Trail. There are several corporate headquarters including Delta Dental of Wisconsin located there. Stevens Point has held the Backwaters Paddle Quest since 2002 and hosts the world's largest trivia contest that lasts 54 straight hours.


Illiana Blackbirds
Home Arena: Midwest Training and Ice Center, Dyer, IN

This will be the inaugural season for the Blackbirds, who have formally been known as the Kalkaska Roughnecks. They have since relocated to Dyer, IN.

The Blackbirds' staff consists of:
Reid Simpson - GM and Co-Coach (since 2012)
Dino Vulpitta - Co-Coach (since 2012)
Jacqueline Owerko - Admin Assistant

The Blackbirds' home arena is located in Dyer, IN, a community of 16,000 lying in the Chicago Metropolitan Area and recognized by Indiana as a fast growing city. A stretch of road called the 'Seedling Mile' and the 'Ideal Section' was build in 1924, rallying support for government- backed construction of long lasting roads. The road is still in use today. Dyer is also home to the minor professional hockey team, the Chi-Town Shooters, a member of the All American Hockey League. They also train at the Midwest Training and Ice Center.
 
St. Louis Frontenacs
Home Arena: FSI Shark Tank, Oakville, MO

The Frontenacs were founded in 2008. Kory Haywood, Marty Madigan, Zach Knackstedt and three other owners, believed that the St. Louis area needed another junior program. St. Louis has been producing a number of talented players that have moved on through the junior ranks, but needed additional opportunities for local players wanting to develop and reach the collegiate level. The Frontenacs placed third in the 2008-09 National tournament and were 2008-09 champions of the GLJHL Lakes cup.

The Frontnacs' staff consists of:
Kory Haywood - President and/General Manager
Kory Haywood - Head Coach
Marshall Flynn - Assistant Coach
Zack Tobey - Assistant Coach
Tom Tobey - Director of Business Operations
Marty Madigan - Director of Game Day Operations
Mandy Madigan - Billet Supervisor
Zach Knacktedt - Secretary

The Frontenacs' home arena is in Oakville, MO, a town of 36,000 and borders the Mississippi and Meramec Rivers, south of St. Louis. A branch of St. Louis Community College is also located there.


The MnJHL would also like to announce two showcases that will take place in the upcoming season. In addition to providing scouts, coaches, managers, and other personnel with the opportunity to see the teams play, these showcases provide the chance for the Great Lakes Division and Minnesota Division to play each other.

October Showcase
Thursday, October 4 through Sunday, October 7

Hosted by:
RecPlex  (Wisconsin Rampage home arena)
9900 Terwall Terrace
Pleasant Prairie, WI 53158
(262) 947-0437
http://recplexonline.com/

December Showcase
Monday, December 10 through Thursday, December 13

Hosted by:
Rochester Recreation Center (Rochester Ice Hawks home arena)
21 Elton Hills Drive Northwest
Rochester, MN 55901
(507) 328-2500





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* Article disclaimer: This site may contain advice, opinions and statements from various authors and information providers. Views expressed in this article reflect the personal opinion of the author, Amanda Marie Liesinger, and not necessarily the views of JuniorHockey.com. JuniorHockey.com does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement or other info provided in the article, or from any other member of this site.





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