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Hockey Weekend Across America

Blake Geoffrion has storied hockey lineage

Monday, 02.14.2011 / 3:32 PM / Hockey Weekend Across America

A.J. Atchue - Special to

Perhaps more than any other player in the American Hockey League, Milwaukee Admirals rookie center Blake Geoffrion can say professional hockey is in his blood.

Geoffrion's great-grandfather was Howie Morenz, a three-time NHL MVP with the Montreal Canadiens and one of the original 12 inductees into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1945.

His grandfather, fellow Hockey Hall of Famer Bernie "Boom-Boom" Geoffrion, amassed a dozen 20-goal seasons for the Canadiens and later spent two successful years as a head coach in the AHL.

And Geoffrion's father, Dan Geoffrion, is a former first-round draft pick by Montreal who scored a team-high 37 goals for the AHL's Sherbrooke Jets in 1982-83.

USA Hockey played critical role in career of 'JVR'

Saturday, 02.12.2011 / 9:00 AM / Hockey Weekend Across America

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Philadelphia Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk can remember the first time mom and dad took him on the ice. Problem is, he wanted no part of it.

"It was an outdoor rink in Old Bridge (N.J.) and I really didn't want to go," van Riemsdyk told "But once I was out there, they couldn't get me off. I kind of loved it at the first go there, so it was great."

Van Riemsdyk would become the highest draftee -- No. 2 by Philadelphia in 2007 -- from the Garden State since Brian Lawton, who was born in New Brunswick but played at a prep school in Rhode Island. Lawton was taken with the first pick of the Entry Draft by the Minnesota North Stars in 1983 at the old Montreal Forum.

National program, college prepared Wilson well

Saturday, 02.12.2011 / 9:00 AM / Hockey Weekend Across America

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Carey Wilson admits it was never raw talent or a set of skills he noticed in his son; rather, an understanding and anticipation of the game.

An ability that led him to believe Colin Wilson would one day be following in his footsteps.

"I noticed how he thought the game ... the anticipation," Carey Wilson told "Those are the kind of things that, later on, you can't teach. You have to have that understanding of the game and how things unfold in a split second. At a young age, I saw he was thinking that way. The rest -- well, there's so much more involved with growing up and maturing. If he set his sights on going pro, let time take its course and let's see what happens."

Youth hockey was a stepping stone for LaFontaine

Saturday, 02.12.2011 / 9:00 AM / Hockey Weekend Across America

Mike G. Morreale - Staff Writer

Pat LaFontaine's love for ice hockey began similarly to any other warm-blooded American with a dream of making it big one day.

Well, almost.

"I remember going on the ice with double-runners on and falling all the time," LaFontaine told "It looked so easy and I actually began crying to get off the ice. My dad would take my brother and me by the hands and kind of windmill us around with the blades on so that we got that feeling of going really fast. That's when I really had my mind set on learning how to skate."

He was 3 years old when his father first introduced him to ice on a small outdoor rink in Kirkwood, Missouri. He'd eventually start playing pickup hockey games there with his brother, John.
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