Melissa Walsh

Grosse Pointe's Super Novices Hit 'The Brick'

Pointe Media | July 2015 | Grosse Pointe Magazine - July/August 2015

The brick

Grosse Pointe's Super Novices Hit The Brick By Melissa Walsh

Three young hockey players from the Pointes are competing in the 25th annual Brick Invitational Super Novice Hockey Tournament in Edmonton, Alberta, this June 29 to July 5. The Brick is a world-class competition earning players distinction as elite youth athletes and promising life-long memories of their early hockey careers.

Little Caesars squirt major head coach Marco Trevino selected Stevie “Wheats” Wheatley (#62), Jackson Wade (#65) and Chase “Bubba” Mazey (#77) to join the Detroit Junior Red Wings Brick tournament team, the only select squad from Michigan competing in The Brick. Fourteen squirt major (atom “super novice”) teams (players born in 2005) will compete in The Brick’s two-division round-robin format.

This year’s DJRW Brick squad will face the Toronto Bulldogs, Team Minnesota, Team Pennsylvania, BC Junior Canucks, Saskatchewan JR Pats and Team California. Trevino selected the team in March from Michigan’s 2005 birth-year hockey players and added three from Florida and Canada.

“It’s really special, because we have players from all over,” says Mazey. “And [the team] was put together for one tournament.”

Since finalizing his roster, Trevino has led the boys in on- and off-ice training and conditioning. While USA Hockey rules dictate automatic offsides for peewee-age players and younger, including squirts, players of all ages in Canada follow delayed offsides, or “tag-up.” This leads to faster offensive play for DJRW to prepare for. In addition, Canadian squirt-age players may take slap-shots, thereby typically evolving a stronger shot than their American counterparts.

Commenting on adjusting to Canadian hockey, Wheatley says, “It’s better ‘cause the players are better. That’s where hockey was made.”

As the DJRW squad practices tagging up to attack and winding up for the slap-shot, they must also prepare for adjusting to varying styles in play.

“The Minnesota teams are definitely well skating teams,” Trevino says. “The Eastern teams are very skilled teams. California teams are very skilled.” As for the Canadian competition, he says, “Western Canada is more of a dump-and-chase, hard-working team style. The Quebec teams are more skilled teams.”

Wheatley, Wade and Mazey will share in similar squirt major memories as current NHLers David Booth, Drew Miller, Steve Kampfer, Matt Hunwick and others, who also represented Detroit in The Brick. Even if they don’t bring home the hardware, the super novices will carry Brick super memories. Wheatley is looking forward to “the water park and the hotel and walking up the stairs to get to the rink.” Wade is looking forward to competing against opponents who are “a little more challenging.”

“I hear the 04s talking about it all the time,” says Mazey. “It’s going to be a really good time.”