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Looking for responce II

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by spikechiquet, May 10, 2007.

  1. spikechiquet

    spikechiquet Well-Known Member

    Again, looking for constructive comments

    Feature off a "National" story (college hockey isn't much of a national sport)

    National Championship run exciting for parents too
    FRANKENMUTH — It was an exhilarating ride for the Michigan State University hockey team.
    Ranked No. 3 in their region, the Spartans shocked the NCAA hockey world by claiming its first Division-I men's ice hockey championship in over 20 years.
    But if you think the players were excited. You should talk with the parents.
    A little bit of the Spartan hockey family has ties to the Thumb area in Gary and Carol McClellan of Frankenmuth.
    Their son, 2001 Frankenmuth High School graduate Zak, is a junior on the MSU squad.
    Zak, and his teammates, defeated Boston College Saturday night, 3-1, in St. Louis to win the hockey title.
    Justin Abdelkader snapped a 1-1 tie with 18.9 seconds to go, seconds after ringing a shot off the post in the Spartans' win.
    "It was great," Gary said. "They had so much enthusiasm.
    "It was the biggest crowd in NCAA Frozen Four history (19,432 at the game) and the kids did such a great job."
    The McClellans traveled to the Frozen Four - college's hockey equivalent to the March Madness Final Four of college basketball - for the National Semifinals on Thursday.
    There, MSU beat the University of Maine, 4-2, to advance while the Eagles beat North Dakota, 6-4.
    "It was so awesome," Carol said. "The game against Maine was fantastic, it was so exciting. Our whole family was there."
    In fact, the McClellan's used the trip as a chance to have a small family reunion according to Gary.
    "There were people from all over the world that came to see the boys play," Carol said.
    Zak has had an uphill battle with making the team. He was given a scholarship, but lost playing time to other recruits. So far, McClellan has three goals and four assists in two full seasons with MSU. He plays primarily the fourth-line as a forward.
    Even this season was a struggle from the start.
    Complaining of a stomach ache before the season, Zak ended up having surgery to remove a cyst from his stomach before the season started.
    His dad admitted that he has been playing with lower back pain all year. But that didn't slow him down in wanting to play.
    "The coaches (led by head coach Rick Comley) were good to him and they played him," Gary said.
    Even in pain, the joy broke through.
    "This is the greatest thing that could have happened to him in college hockey," Gary said.
    Known as the team's, "funny guy", Zak has won the MSU Goofus Award as the team's humorist for the last three seasons. His dad says he has plans to be the first ever four-time winner in that category.
    But McClellan has the smarts too, as he was awarded an Academic Award Monday night at the team's banquet. Yesterday, the team and parents all celebrated with a pep rally at the school.
    The road to a national championship was a little different for Zak.
    After moving to Frankenmuth after being born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Zak played football for the Eagles in the fall, then put his skates on for the rest of the hockey season.
    "He had very little hockey experience, unlike everyone else," Gary said. "He would play hockey from December to March and so he was behind (most college-bound players)."
    So Zak spent three years in the North American Hockey League, playing for John LaFontaine and the Bozeman (Mont.) Icedogs.
    He spent three years there before heading to Michigan State, where is is a junior with one year of hockey to go.
    "We followed Lake Superior State until he joined MSU," Gary said. "He went to all the National title games (the Lakers played in in the 90s), so he had been there before."
    Athletics are all about the McClellan clan, as sister Jaami was a star at Frankenmuth in basketball and went on to play at Alma and Oakland University while Gary was the state racquetball champion and Carol was a professional figure skater.
    Now they can add a national championship to the family resume. Something that Gary agrees with, this championship started with strong support from all the MSU hockey parents.
    "The parents all got along, and that means a lot," Gary said. "There weren't any parents grouching about their kids playing time and we all supported each other."
    Added Carol: "Zak is so excited, he is so happy to be a part of the team, They really bonded as a team and they had so much fun this season.
    "Everybody likes each other and that's why they have a such a great team."
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