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Looking for a game, Edina PWAA heads to Michigan

By Tony Scott, 02/04/13, 5:15AM CST


Undefeated Edina PWAA Heads to Detroit to take on Honeybaked, Compuware and Little Caesars

With the wins coming in bunches in Minnesota, the Edina PWAA team is headed out of state to play three top AAA teams in Detroit in two days.  A very cool trip that includes visits to Ann Arbor, MI to skate at Yost Arena on the campus of the University of Michigan, a game at Joe Louis Arena, and attend a Canadian Junior League game.  For a youth hockey player, this is like Disney….but with your buddies and no snot nosed little brother/sister tagging along.

Their trip begins will begin with a flight (yes, flight…remember this Edina) to Lansing on Thursday. A visit to Ann Arbor, MI for a Friday morning practice at Yost Arena, followed by a game in Hazel Park, MI versus the country’s #2 team HoneyBaked ’00 Elite.  And on Saturday they will play a morning game versus #4 ranked Little Caesars at Joe Louis Arena followed by an afternoon game in Plymouth, MI versus Compuware, ranked #6.

Long time Edina PeeWee coach Jeff Johnson when asked about the trip told YHH, “we are really excited to represent Minnesota on our trip and showcase our community based model to these great teams and people in Michigan. It should be a really fun trip for the boys.”

YHH Says: These three games will be a clash of two different hockey cultures.  Edina, drawing from a community of 50,000 and tight restrictions on school and municipal boundaries, takes on Elite teams from the Detroit metroplex of nearly five million people and a one hour driving distance to and from the rink.  This is a match up of the Minnesota Model: play for your city, play for your high school, play with your lifelong friends versus the Michigan Model (AAA): a free agent at the age of eight and work your way to the top playing less for the front of the jersey and more for the name on the back. Both models have a formula that produces elite players.  Traditionalists inside the Iron Curtain of hockey, Minnesota, sense a decay in our model every year (more of our best 16-18 year old players are defecting for greener pastures every year)…this weekend we will get a bird’s eye view of life on the outside. One certainty from these three games is there will be some great hockey played and boys from both teams will leave with a new respect for both models.

Team Previews and Predicitons


A high net worth community of nearly 50,000 people with 1 local high school.  It is a first ring southwest suburb of Minneapolis. With a tradition of excellence in many sports like tennis and golf – Edina is well known for it’s hockey.  Flying banners in their rink  for state champions at every age level from Squirts to High School…Edina is known first for it’s hockey and second for it’s parents.  The dads are a passionate group of mostly ex-players themselves and the moms are always easy on the eye. Their home rink, Braemar is a traditional three rink municipal venue that is always host to great local youth and high school games every night from November to March.  Due to high demand the Edina youth also practice and play in other neighboring private rinks like Minnesota Made, Blake, and Hat Trick. The youth teams play in District 6, arguably the best district of Minnesota Hockey.  Last year, District 6 won the state title at every A level team both boys and girls in all youth levels. The high school plays in the Lake Conference against such neighboring powerhouses Minnetonka, Eden Prairie and Wayzata. Edina is the epitome of the Minnesota Model: play within your community in the Winter, train and play with people at your ability and age level in AAA hockey in the Summer. The vast majority of kids that play for “AA” teams and many of the “A” in Minnesota follow this model.  Glossary note: Minnesota Hockey classifies it’s PeeWee and Bantam programs by their high school’s hockey program designation…AA schools (usually) represent the larger schools and the A schools represent the smaller schools and cities.  Some teams/cities opt up to AA for better competition and some AA opt down to A to compete.  Edina (and several other larger associations) field both AA and A teams at PeeWees and Bantams.
Edina ’12-’13 (45-0-0, winners of Eden Prairie, Duluth, Edina Invite, Roseau, and White Bear Lake Tournaments)

The 2012-13 Edina PWAA team will enter this weekend on a 46 game winning streak (close to 90 if you count this group’s record as Squirts).  They are often compared to the Bloomington Jefferson PeeWee team of 2001 that won the PeeWee state tournament and featured NHL first round picks Erik Johnson and Peter Mueller. They have a roster full of elite AAA players at both the ’99 and ’00 level, including Tyler Madden and former Michigan Wolverine and three time Stanley Cup champion John Madden. Averaging more than eight goals a game, the Hornets are probably better known for their great defensemen Peter Tabor, Jack Lagerstrom, and Ben Brinkman (all blessed with size and skill).


HoneyBaked Hockey was started in 1994 by the owner of the HoneyBaked Ham Company (Lou Schmidt) and quickly developed into one of the premier AAA hockey clubs in North America. HoneyBaked has over 60 players spread out in the NCAA playing hockey with that number growing every year. HoneyBaked players are also becoming of age to play in the NHL with over 15 former HoneyBaked players lacing up the skates last season
including names like Ryan Kesler (Vancouver), Nathan Gerbe (Buffalo), Bobby Ryan (Anaheim), Patrick Kane (Chicago), Trevor Lewis (LA Kings), and David Booth (Vancouver).

’00 HoneyBaked (41-6-6, wins over Mississauga Rebels, 1-1-2 recored against #2 Chicago Mission):

HoneyBaked is ranked number two in the nation and are the recent winners of the 2013 International Silver Stick Tournament. They have nine forwards that all put up close or over a point per game and feature a good mix of offensive defense men that really shoot the puck and steady stay at home bigger defenders. Their two goaltenders have excellent size and agility and both hold goals against averages under 1.50. and Save Percentages over .900. The team’s strength is putting pressure on opponents on both ends of the rink. While speaking to Head Coach Trevor Edwards from HoneyBaked, he said “our team is playing at the top of our game right now and can’t wait to play the Hornets…”

Prediction: Missing one of it’s top players, Clayton Phillips, Edina will be tested by arguably the best team in America at the ’00 level.  Loaded with speed and size, the Hams will give Edina a look that they are not use to.  Possibly the biggest edge HoneyBaked has is these kids train and play together year round.  They have a system in place that has been very successful against high end coaching and talent.  This will be a big advantage down the stretch.  For Edina to win, they are going to have to get production from top guns Tyler Madden, Grant Silianoff, and Lewis Crosby.  For HoneyBaked to win, they will have to get Edina’s big defensemen Peter Tabor, Jack Lagerstrom, and Ben Brinkman off balance and out of sync. Edge: HoneyBaked

Little Caesars

Little Caesar teams have an extraordinary tradition of winning, having captured numerous state tournaments and national titles over its more than 40-year history.  Their hockey club aligns itself very closely with the Detroit Red Wings, also owned by Mike and Marian Ilitch.  Members of the team will occasionally drop by the youths’ practice ice or locker room for motivation and instruction.  Also, when ice is available at Joe Louis Arena, every effort is made to allow the amateur players to skate there. More than 100 Little Caesars have made it to the National Hockey League including: Mike Modano, Doug Weight, and John Vanbiesbrouck and thousands of others established careers in collegiate hockey, junior hockey or other professional hockey leagues.

’00 Little Caesars (32-14-2)

Recent winners of the Nation’s Cup in December the ’00 Little Caesars team has an impressive resume of wins. LC is head coached by former NHLers Chris Tamer and his assistant John Gruden. Boasting possibly the best and most recognizable uniforms in youth hockey, Little Caesars has some very impressive wins this year.  Defeating several top ranked teams nationally like HoneyBaked (October), Compuware (January) and have played the #1 ranked Chicago Mission close both times. LC features several star players on their 16 man roster that will travel to Quebec for the Quebec PeeWee International Tournament (an 11 day hockey and culture field trip).

Prediction: These two teams play a very similar style of hockey.  Both have gifted forwards and can counter attack on an another team’s weaknesses. The only thing that looks to stand in the way of Edina in this game will be the awe of playing in Joe Louis arena.  The boys from LC probably consider this a second home to them and if there is a slight advantage, playing on familiar ice may be one factor in their favor. For Little Caesars to win, they will have to find a way to pressure the gifted arsenal of defensemen Edina has.  Edge: Edina

Founded in the mid-1970’s by Compuware CEO and President, Peter Karmanos the Compuware AAA club has placed over 225 of it’s players into the Major Junior or Division I college hockey via scholarship and have a nice list of players who have reached the NHL including such notables as Eric Lindros, Pat LaFontaine, and Brian Rolston.

As time went on, Karmanos expanded the Compuware Hockey Program to include the Ontario Hockey League’s (OHL) Windsor Compuware Spitfires from 1983-89 and then an expansion franchise for Detroit in the OHL known as the Detroit Compuware Ambassadors. The Ambassadors – who started play in 1990 – moved to Plymouth in 1996 and are currently known as the Plymouth Whalers.

’00 Compuware (28-16-2)

The ’00 Compuware Peewee Major team is coached by Todd Krygier, Kirk Gurney and Mike Krygier.  Coach Krygier played nine seasons in the NHL.This years 2000′s team is lead by Jeremy Davidson.  A big, strong and fast centerman with a powerful shot.  Through 41 games, Jeremy had 37 goals and 21 assists.  Two of the teams fastest players, Kaiden Scott and Carson Grainer play together on a line centered by Zach Faremouth in his first year with the team.  Together, their “Production Line” has a combined 50 goals and 43 assists on the season so far. Well known for it’s size and toughness, Compuware will look to play a defensive and physical brand of hockey.  Compuware is the current T1 Michigan State Champions and will be attempting to defend their title in the upcoming state playoffs in March.

Prediction: Fatigue will be the only thing that can stop the Hornets in this game. Travel, two nights sleep in a hotel, and three games in less than 24 hours may take it’s toll on these Cake Eaters. For Compuware to win they will have to have top flight goaltending and a great penalty kill.  Edina will give them a few chances, they will have to convert on a high percentage to make this a game. Edge: Edina.

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