As Brighton JV coach Dave Capellani (bottom left) and varsity coach Paul Moggach look on, prospecitve hockey team members go through the first day of workouts on Monday. (Photo by Tim Robinson)

Eagles, Bulldogs play in Thanksgiving tourney today — with broadcast link

It started with a couple of coaches talking about their playing days.

“A couple of years ago, we were talking about when we played in the WHMI Classic,” Hartland hockey coach Rick Gadwa said of a conversation with his Brighton counterpart, Kurt Kivisto. “Howell was in it, too, and we would invite a fourth team, and we always did some special things.”

Twenty years later, scheduling didn’t permit Howell to participate this weekend, but the Bulldogs and Eagles will be playing two quality teams in a doubleheader that starts at 2 p.m. at the Kensington Valley Ice House.

Both games will be broadcast by The Livingston Post. Click here for the link. 

Hartland, a perennial Division 2 power, will take on last year’s Division 1 runner-up, Rockford, in the first game. Brighton, which got to the Division 1 semifinals last year, will take on Division 2 runner-up Byron Center at about 4:30 p.m.

“They’re certainly no slouches we’re bringing in,” Kivisto said. “We wanted to bring in teams that are going to challenge us. It should be a good weekend.”

The weekend ends Saturday with today’s losers playing at 2 p.m. and the winners playing for the championship at 4:30 p.m.

Both Hartland and Brighton are coming off losses on Wednesday to state powerhouses. The Eagles lost to Livonia Stevenson, 4-2, while Brighton fell to Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 2-1. Both the Eagles and Bulldogs lost on home ice.

It’s a rare opportunity for area teams to see squads from the west side of the state.

“There’s some good programs out there,” Kivisto said. “We’re excited to see those guys. It’s a good opportunity to get them over here and compete against them.”

It’s not guaranteed, of course, but there’s the possibility of an early-season showdown between the Eagles and Bulldogs, who are scheduled to meet in a regular-season game on Jan. 15.

“Any time you can get the local teams together in a game, you look forward to it,” Gadwa said. “So if the cards fall the right way and we see each other, it would be good for both teams.”

Both Rockford and Byron Center are 1-1 this season and are coming off losses.

Hartland is 2-1 while Brighton is 1-1.

“We have a pretty young team this year, especially up front, and in goal, and I think this is a good way to help them grow,” Kivisto said of the Bulldogs. “You put them up against some of the top teams in the state, and there’s going to be some growth that comes out of that.”

And, in the meantime, create a Thanksgiving tradition.





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