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2015 Merrill Squirt Invitational Champions

The Merrill Rangers beat Baraboo Red 5-1 to capture 1st place in the first annual Merrill Squirt Invite on January 11th, 2015.  The Merrill Rangers roster  is made up of players from both the Squirt A and B teams.  Merrill split their squirt players into two equal teams to round off the eight team tournament.  Baraboo also split their teams equally the same way Merrill did.  According to Merrill Coach Chris Marlowe, "This gave our Merrill kids a chance to play actual games with their daily practice mates that they do not normally travel with.  We asked our 10 year olds to lead the younger players by example.  It worked great, they did exactly what was asked of them, our younger players followed this lead and the result was a first place trophy.  Our B players were challenged more than they had been all year.  We hope that this will carry over into the remainder of their 2015 schedule and on from there."  Marlowe also added "Unfortunately both of our Merrill teams could not hoist the trophy at the end of the the championship game.  But at the end of the day, all of our Merrill squirts, including the Merrill Kings, should take pride in this trophy.  All of our players know that it is the competition that the Rangers faced every day in practice that prepared them for the tournament."

This is the second year in a row that Merrill has been able to field two teams at the Squirt level.  The Squirt A team won the Level 4 State Tournament last year.  Merrill Youth Hockey President, Cory McCorkle added, "This is a credit to our entire Squirt Program and to our entire youth association.  Player numbers are increasing along with our level of skill.  I believe this (championships) is something that will, and really, already has become the norm for our players.  Other participants included Tomahawk, Medford, North Lakeland, Baraboo White, and Milwaukee Winter Club.

Two local officials on the national stage

Two officials from Merrill were both asked by USA Hockey to be a big part of the officiating community this season. Ryan Schroder was invited to the Central District tournament, the Womens national tournament and the Girls national tournament. Ryan worked all three tournaments as a referee and a linesman. At Women's nationals he refereed a Semi Final game and at Girls nationals was asked to referee the U16 Championship game.

Brandon Schroder was asked to help out in a different way. He was selected to attend Instructor Camp in Colorado Springs, CO. Brandon will fly out to Colorado Thrusday, April 29th through Sunday, May 2nd and will have classroom and ice time instruction from some of the nations top instructors. Instructor camp is help at the Olympic training facility in Colorado Springs. Colorado Springs is also the home of USA Hockey headquarters which they will get to tour as well. Brandon is with two others from WI who will join the ranks of instructors as well.

Two Merrill youth's capture titles at the 2014 Everest 3X3 Tournament

Merrill's Judah Leder (2005) and Ty Marlowe (2006) each win their division of the 2014 Everest Flames 3X3 Challenge.  This tournament is held annually as a fund raiser for the Everest Flames Youth Hockey association and attracts the areas best young skaters to kick off the new season.  Congratulations to Judah and Ty on their accomplishment!  What a great way to start the year.

New Jerseys create a stir at the 2014 WAHA State Tournament

Merrill's new look was the talk of the 2014 WAHA State Tournament at the Bantam and Squirt 4A levels.  Merrill's ACE Director, Chris Marlowe, explains how the jersey's came about and what they did for the kids.  "Looking good, feeling good" explains Marlowe,  "The kids really look sharp in these jerseys, they are light weight and very fast! We had three major sponsors that enabled this to happen, Church Mutual, Culver's, and River Valley Bank.  We unveiled the jerseys at the State tournament playoffs in February, they instantly made a difference."

The Squirt A team won the State 4A level and the Bantam's were runner-ups.  "We are very grateful for our sponsors and our association board members that hit the road in search of sponsor's for the new jerseys", adds association president, Cory McCorkle.  "We have a good thing going, kids in Merrill are catching on and realizing that this hockey thing is pretty darn cool! It helps to look as good as we do !  Thank you to Church Mutual, Culver's, and River Valley.

Familiar Face in an Unfamiliar Place

Joe in his new home

Joe Brown, father of Ben (Defenseman on the Bluejays), is Merrill's newest Arena Specialist. Joe is a great fit, he has been through our program and is very familiar with our needs and has seen many rinks in motion over the years. Joe will be assuming Jim Dallman's seat on the Zamboni and has big shoes to fill. Jim did a great job at the rink, we will certainly miss seeing him out there. Joe is joining the finest team of Arena Specialists in the area. Andy Block is the crew leader of the crew that annually produces the finest sheet of ice in all of Central Wisconsin if not the State.

Emily Heckendorf Named to the 2014-15 NCHA All-Conference Team

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Emily Heckendorf, a 2011 Merrill Graduate and Bluejay Hockey Team Captain, has been honored by the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association.  Emily has earned the honor of First Team All-Conference after a stellar senior season at Concordia University in Mequon, WI where she led her team in points and set the new standard for most goals in a single season.  Emily is the third all-time leading scorer at CUW with 72 points. She cut her hockey teeth in the MYHA and resisted the urge to play with the girls of the Central Wisconsin Storm Program.  After Playing with the Bluejays and the Team Wisconsin before and after program she began her career at CUW in the fall of 2011.  Emily also played on the CUW Lacrosse Team.  She could often be seen in the summers here in Merrill working with Eric Filipiak at the Parisi Speed School.  Congratulations to Emily on an outstanding Collegiate Career!  She is yet another example of the outstanding opportunities that are available to our youth through our program and the sport of hockey.

Central Wisconsin Hockey Community Loss

Jacob with his dog Avalanche

Logan Jacob Brummond "L.J.", age 22, of Wausau, died on Sunday, January 10, 2016 as a result of a tragic car accident.  "L.J" was a senior at UW - Stevens Point where he was studying psychology and political science.  Logan graduated from Wausau East in 2012 and was a member of the Wausau East Lumberjack Hockey Team.  Family, Friends, and Hockey were the most important things to Logan.  Logan's brother Austin is currently a member of the East Lumberjack Hockey Team.  The Brummond Family are huge supporters of the Wausau Hockey Community and can usually be found volunteering at the rink (Marathon County Park).  Merrill Youth Hockey Coach Chris Marlowe worked with Jacob's Grandfather for 20 years and recalls the dedication the Brummond Family gave our sport.  "Every time I am in the Wausau rink I can always count on running into one of the Brummonds.  This is a huge blow to not only Wausau Hockey but the entire Central Wisconsin Hockey Community." said Marlowe.  "The Hockey Community is small and very tight knit, our sympathy goes out to Logan, his family, and Wausau Hockey."

Memorials may be given to the Friends of East Hockey, PO Box 1784, Wausau, WI  54402-1784.

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