Seven members of men's DIII hockey represent GVSU in all-star tournament
The Grand Valley State men’s Division III hockey team fell to Adrian University in the first round of playoffs early March, but their season and accomplishments did not end there.
This past weekend, seven members of the team, as well as head coach Charlie Link, traveled to Philadelphia to compete in the ACHA All-Star Tournament, which ran from Friday, April 13, through Sunday, April 15.
Goalie Jack Lindsay, captain Alex Bjork, forwards Alex Siroky and Ben Kowalske, and defenseman Derek Simon, along with Ben Chafin and Reidar Burgeson, represented their school with honor, Link said.
“It’s a great opportunity for all players to play against the best in the country; I think it’s pretty cool,” Link said. “It just rewards the best players to play in one more tournament. All the players from Grand Valley are representing the school really well.”
Players not only fought to represent their school in the best way possible but also to be selected for a National All-Star Team heading to Russia for a tournament in the fall.
According to Link, the competition was at an all-time high. Only 21 players are picked to be a part of this ultimate team. However, other players—including Bjork—wanted to enjoy one last time on the ice.
“Seniors can’t be selected to go to Russia,” Bjork said. “I was focused on wrapping up my career the right way.”
In his four years wearing Laker blue, this was the first all-star selection for the captain, and Link wanted Bjork and his teammates to enjoy it as much as possible. Link confessed that he tried to put his GVSU players on the ice as often he could, giving them the chance to make the most out of their experience.
This is Link’s second time coaching in the event. Although Bjork’s Russian dream cannot become reality, Link thinks one or two of his players could get the opportunity to compete overseas next fall.
However, this weekend had more on the line than a simple trip to Russia. GVSU has overcome a lot of obstacles this season and has brought the community together with their multiple fundraising efforts, too.
“It was awesome spending time with these guys. Some of them are my best friends,” Bjork said. “Our families came with us, too, and we hung out with them in between games. It was great.”
By the end of the weekend, the Laker all-stars and the rest of their team finished with a 2-2-1 record. Lindsay gathered 13 saves in goal and one victory. Smith scored one goal, while Bjork and Reidar Burgeson each added an assist.
These six players made GVSU history, as they constituted the most players selected in an all-star game ever. However, Bjork thinks the future is bright for his team.
“We have a few good seniors leaving this year,” Bjork said. “But each freshman class brought in more talents as the years went by.”
Bjork thinks GVSU could have more than six players selected in the years to come. If that’s the case, we may be seeing GVSU hockey bringing home some hardware in the years to come.