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Rams Hockey Brings Home the Hardware

By Jeannie Gregory, 11/04/19, 10:45AM EST


The Rams Pee Wee Hockey A Team pose with their hardware from the Spartans Cup. ~ Photo by Kari Korytkowski

LANSING – The Rams 12u Pee Wee A Hockey Team took a trip to Lansing over the weekend and came home with a Championship. They claimed the trophy for the Spartans Cup, a recurring hockey tournament that takes place at the Summit Sports and Ice Complex, located in Lansing. In sports, the scores only tell part of the story. There’s always plenty of backstory to losses and victories. This Championship victory was no different.

The team faced plenty of adversity as they headed into the season. Head coach Kurt Detzler and his assistants started a new team made up of kids that played on four-five different teams last year. In so doing, they were placed in what is called the Howe 4 division of the Little Caesars Amateur Hockey Association, the lowest level of competition. The coaches wanted to be placed in a division that was competitive for them. To do so, they played “Play-In Games” against higher-rated, established teams.  The end result of those 3 play-in games were two close losses and one tie, and due to the results were placed in the Howe 2 division. To add to the newness of the athletes playing together, the team had to battle missing players due to soccer and football practices and games during the fall season. A lot of adversity in the weeks leading up to the opening of hockey season. The team finally became whole just two weeks before the tournament.

 At the start of the tournament, the future didn’t look too promising. The Rams faced off against the Arctic Jr. Fury, and fell by a 4-1 score.

“It was a horrible game, played by 14 kids, not a team,” shares Detzler. “It was one of our worst games yet and we sat at a record of 1-8-2 on the season after that game. This was just the second weekend together completely, and after that first game, we as coaches recognized the need for some team building,” shares Detzler. “So, we rented a conference room so we could do team building exercises. We went into our team building, none of the kids went to the hotel, which is the best part of tournaments at this age still. We did that for roughly an hour and a half, and then went down and did a ‘high five tunnel’ for the other Rams team at that tournament. Not only team building for us, but a boost for the younger team to know that the older team was there to support them. I told the coaches that if 10 percent of what we talked about that day would stick, it would be great.”

The team answered in a big way. They topped their next opponent 8-2, and then steamrolled the competition in the next two game 6-1 and 7-1.

“We went from 14 kids, to one team,” continues Detzler. “The level of play, the encouragement to each other, the unselfish play, the creativity, and the support they all showed was a 180-degree turnaround. We kept instilling the values they learned before each game until we got to Game 4 and then all we had to say was, ‘Win and you’re in,’ as in the finals.”

Game 5 was a rematch against Arctic Fury – the team that topped the Rams in the opening game. 

“Again, the speech was short,” shares Detzler. “Win and you are the Champs. We did emphasize that the Fury team we were playing had not truly seen the Rams team that they had become, and so they were in for a shock if we continued to roll on. We did, beating them 6-2. I don’t want to individualize who scored in this game, but I want to point out we had six goals, and we had four different players score those goals, from all three of our lines, and five different players registered assists. These are ALL indicators of TEAM.”

During the tournament, Brady Seauvageau had a 4-goal performance in Game 2 earning him a Hat Trick award from the tournament. Brady also netted one more goal in the tournament for a total of five.

“This was HUGE for us coaches as we saw a tremendous amount of growth in Brady this weekend, and that performance boosted his attitude and confidence.”

 Landon Smith led the team in total points with five goals and five assists for the tournament. Line mate Warner Korytkowski also netted five goals and two assists. Landen Cook also netted five goals and two assists, rounding out the “5-goal squad.” 

“Four kids with five goals is another indicator that this is a team with depth,” continues Detzler. “So is the fact that nine of the 13 skaters netted goals, and 10 registered assists. The entire team was all in the game! We did not win on the shoulders of one kid, or even one line. That is rare at this age.”

As Champions, the coaches were allowed to select their Tournament MVP, quite a challenge for a team that had so many contributors to the tournament win.

“With all that participation, how do you select an MVP and separate one kid from the rest after a team building weekend?” asks Detzler.

After much discussion, the Rams goalie, Cooper Flachs was named MVP, as he has stayed true through it all as a player with skills and mental focus. 

“It was an easy choice, but not so easy at the same time,” concludes Detzler. “I wish I could have given 14 out, or not had the pressure to have one at all. They all deserved it.”

Members of the team surround goalie Cooper Flachs in celebration. ~ Photo by Kari Korytkowski

~ Photo by Kari Korytkowski

~ Photo by Kari Korytkowski

~ Photo by Kari Korytkowski

~ Photo by Kari Korytkowski

~ Photo by Kari Korytkowski

~ Photo by Kari Korytkowski

~ Photo by Kari Korytkowski