Men’s hockey to host league All-Stars

By Jason Grodsky

The Central States Collegiate Hockey League’s best players, along with a few former Illinois men’s hockey club alumni, will invade the University of Illinois Ice Arena this weekend.

The Illini will welcome back some of its alumni for its annual alumni weekend as part of the final home game of the season. But along with the alumni festivities, the Illini will also host the 2007 CSCHL All-Star Game for the first time in club history.

“There is a lot going on this weekend for Illini hockey as far as events for people to come and see,” Illini head coach Chad Cassel said. “The All-Star event should be great because it’s the best players of the league, and the alumni event is great every year.”

The festivities for alumni weekend will start on Saturday, when the team will welcome its former players with a luncheon at the Illini Union. The alumni will then hit the ice for the Annual Alumni Blue and White Old-Timers game.

The annual Blue versus White alumni game is free to the public and will take place before the CSCHL All-Star Game, with face-off set for 4 p.m. at the University of Illinois Ice Arena.

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“We’ll have a lot of friends coming back, and the alumni game is always a good time,” senior goaltender Mike DeGeorge said. “This weekend is all about fun heading into our last week before the national tournament.”

Shortly after the alumni game, the best of the CSCHL will take the ice to compete against the No. 3 Illini in just the fourth CSCHL All-Star Game.

It will be just the second time that the format will feature a team of the top players from the other nine schools in the conference, Eastern Michigan, Iowa State, Kent State, Lindenwood, Michigan-Dearborn, Ohio, Robert Morris, Saint Louis and Western Michigan, facing off against the host’s team.

Last season it was Ohio who took the ice against the CSCHL All-Stars in Athens, Ohio. The Bobcats knocked off the CSCHL All-Stars 6-5.

Among this season’s notable CSCHL all-stars that the Illini will face off against are Kent State senior forward Jason O’Bannon, Iowa State senior goaltender Trent Baker, Michigan-Dearborn senior forward Steve Rademacher and Ohio senior defenseman Dave Moyer.

O’Bannon is this year’s Most Valuable Player in the CSCHL as well as the league scoring champion, while Baker was named the CSCHL Tournament MVP. Both Rademacher and Moyer were named to the First Team All-CSCHL.

“The All-Star Game will be a fun game,” senior Marshall Chubirka said. “The guys we’ll be playing are very deserving of being named to the All-Star team, and it will be a good experience to play against the top guys in the league. It should be a high energy and intense game.”