DETROIT — Fifty years ago the Great Lakes Invitational was established as a holiday college hockey tournament to get some exposure for Michigan Tech in the fertile recruiting grounds of Detroit and Ontario. The tournament came about with a casual conversation between Lincoln Cavalieri, the general manager of Olympia Stadium, John MacInnes, Michigan Tech’s legendary head coach, and Detroit Red Wings scout Jack Paterson. The three men were discussing the lack of American-born players in the National Hockey League and concluded that a prestigious collegiate tournament would be of benefit by promoting college hockey. Olympia Stadium and Olympia Entertainment were chosen as the host.
Telemarketing and getting the community involved would play an important role in filling the building. That was the important difference that lent success to the endeavor, by promoting and generating interest among minor hockey organizations, as well as the general public. Jack Tompkins, American Airlines vice president, former University of Michigan goalie, and a member of the Detroit Red Wings organization, championed their vision as well, and together in 1965, they founded the Great Lakes Invitational hockey tournament.
The four school tournament invites a guest school to take on Michigan State, Michigan and Michigan Tech. This year it will be Northern Michigan of the WCHA. Last year’s champion was Michigan. The finals this year will have Michigan and Michigan Tech facing off at 7:05 pm on Wednesday, December 30, 2015.
IIHF WORLD JUNIOR TOURNAMENT
Alex Nedeljkovic (Parma, Ohio) stopped 25-of-27 shots to help the U.S. National Junior Team earn a 4-2 victory over Canada in the opening game for both teams at the 2016 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship in Helsinki, Finland. “I liked our effort overall,’ said Ron Wilson, head coach of the U.S. National Junior Team. “It’s just the first game, but certainly a good way to begin the tournament.”
Team USA used the last 2:40 of a scoreless first period and the first 2:20 of the second stanza to successfully kill off a five-minute penalty in what was a key stretch of Team USA’s victory.
Team USA took its first lead of the game when Zach Werenski (Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.) fired a wrist shot from the blue line through a screen on a U.S. power play. Three minutes later, however, Canada responded with its own power play goal to even the score 2-2.
Will Borgen (Moorhead, Minn.) then sent a pass to Louie Belpedio (Skokie, Ill.), who deflected a shot from the point off a Canadian defenseman’s stick and redirected it into the net. Less than a minute later, Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.) extended the U.S. lead to 4-2 when he pushed home a loose puck in the Canadian crease.
Michigan sophomore defenseman, Zach Werenski has been named captain of the 2016 U.S. National Junior Team, USA Hockey announced. He will be lost to the Wolverines for the GLI. In addition, defenseman Louie Belpedio and forwards Auston Matthews and Colin White were tabbed alternate captains of the squad. The International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship will take place from Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Helsinki, Finland.