by Forechecker on 10/04/08 at 12:10 PM ET
I’m in Indiana for the weekend, so imagine my surprise to read this morning’s Indianapolis Star and find a feature on hockey:
When Justin Lyle was told to pick up “the Swedish kid” from the airport, he wasn’t sure what he was looking for—but it wasn’t Mikael Owilli.
The only thing saving the Indiana Ice assistant coach from a fruitless trip was the lengthy bag attached to Owilli’s hand, holding his hockey stick.
“I knew nothing about him,” Lyle said. “Zero. Luckily, he was carrying a stick bag.”
As James Mirtle summarized a few months ago, the USHL appears to be thriving as a developmental league for teenage players aiming to earn college scholarships. And for those who may not know, Indianapolis has its fair share of hockey history for a non-NHL city. It’s where Wayne Gretzky started his career with the WHA’s Indianapolis Racers, and a number of future NHL stars played in the 80’s and 90’s with the IHL’s Indianapolis Ice, such as Dominik Hasek, the Millers (Kip, Kelly and Keith), and Warren Rychel. In today’s NHL, Colorado Avalanche defenseman John-Michael Liles hails from suburban Zionsville.
And if that isn’t enough for you, my first date in Indiana with Mrs. Forechecker was a “Pack the House” night at the old Market Square Arena between the Ice and their dreaded rivals, the Ft. Wayne Komets (coached by Gerard Gallant at the time). They used to draw more than 14,000 for those nights, and it was as raucous a crowd as you’ll ever see.
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