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Northern Michigan back in GLI

by Dana Wakiji / Detroit Red Wings
Northern Michigan University defenseman Brock Maschmeyer is looking forward to his first Great Lakes Invitational. (Courtesy Northern Michigan University Wildcats)

DETROIT -- Playing in your first Great Lakes Invitational in an NHL rink could be an intimidating thing but not for Northern Michigan junior Brock Maschmeyer.

That's because Maschmeyer has gone through a situation far more stressful -- trying to score in a shootout against his own sister, Emerance.

"She's a goaltender," Maschmeyer said in a recent phone interview. "I played against her back in junior hockey, junior A. I actually ended up playing (against her in) a game and an exhibition game. She was only in the regular game for 10 minutes. But in the exhibition game, we do a shootout at the end of the game for fun. I had to go against her in the shootout. Talk about nerves. She was trying to make the team, I was trying to not look like an idiot.

"The crowd noticed we were both wearing Maschmeyer on our jerseys so the whole crowd starts going crazy. I was coming up, faking the shot and then going to the backhand. To this day, I don't remember what happened. I kind of blanked out. I stopped and tapped her on the pads and said, 'Make the team.'"

Maschmeyer's two brothers and two sisters have all played hockey, including Emerance, who had a shutout for Team Canada in the gold medal game at the 2012 IIHF World Women's U18 Championship against Team USA.

"My older sister (Brittaney) played at Syracuse on a hockey scholarship, my younger sister (Emerance) is at Harvard," Maschmeyer said. "My youngest brother (Kache) is at aviation school back in Canada. Emerance played for the national team. She went to Sweden this year and lost in the finals. They won last year when she played in Kamloops. She's definitely having a good run."

Maschmeyer's older brother, Bronson, is a defenseman for St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia.

Since he doesn't have the pressure of facing his sister, Maschmeyer is hoping things will be a little easier when he makes his GLI debut against Michigan.

"I'm really excited," Maschmeyer said. "It's going to be fun playing some new teams that we haven't played while I've been here. It's been a whole since we played in a tournament. The boys are excited. I'm ready and excited to have the Christmas break and then get ready and get back into hockey."

Although Maschmeyer is an Alberta native, he said he actually grew up a Red Wings fan.

"I like the old school hockey teams," Maschmeyer said. "I grew up watching (Steve) Yzerman, (Dominik) Hasek, (Nick) Lidstrom, it was one of the teams I watched growing up. It was a battle between me and my brother, the Wings and the Oilers."

Maschmeyer is a defenseman with offensive skills. He led the WCHA in goals by a defenseman and was fifth in overall defenseman scoring.

This season Maschmeyer has one goal and five assists in 16 games.

So naturally some of Maschmeyer's favorite players are offensive defensemen.

"There were a lot -- Lidstrom, Bobby Orr," Maschmeyer said. "I wasn't able to see (Orr) but I got my dad's input and was able to see video from back in the day. You see players you want to be like. I would say Lidstrom was my guy."

Lidstrom is Maschmeyer's favorite but he feels his own game is more like a different former Wing.

"I'm probably more like Paul Coffey, taking opportunities when I can, making plays offensively," Maschmeyer said. "I am a solid D-zone guy bit I kind of enjoy being that fourth guy moving up in the rush. I was a forward until Bantam AAA, then the switch happened. I love it."

Northern Michigan has not participated in the GLI since 1998 and the Wildcats' best finish was runner-up in 1992, the year Maschmeyer was born.

The Wildcats play Michigan Tech during their season but don't normally face Michigan.

"I haven't played against them," Maschmeyer said. "It's going to be exciting just for the atmosphere, the NHL rink. We haven't played them in the last three years. This is going to be a really great kickoff to the second half of the season."

The four-team tournament starts with a doubleheader matchup on Tuesday, Dec. 29 between Michigan State (Big Ten) and Michigan Tech (WCHA) at 3:30 p.m., and Northern Michigan (WCHA) and Michigan (Big Ten) at 7 p.m. The winners of those contests will advance to the championship game on Wednesday, Dec. 30 at 7 p.m., while the other two teams will meet in the third-place game at 3:30 p.m. on the same day. All four games of the GLI will be televised live on FOX Sports Detroit.

Michigan enters the tournament as the defending champion, having defeated Michigan State, 2-1, to capture their record 16th MacInnes Cup in the 300th all-time meeting between the interstate rivals. The Wolverines’ lineup also features the most NHL draft picks (12) in the field.

Individual tickets for the 51st annual Great Lakes Invitational are on sale Monday, Oct. 26, at 10 a.m. Little Caesars Family 4-Packs are also available for the GLI. The offer features four tickets, four slices of pizza or hot dogs and four soft drinks, starting at $49 per day.

Individual tickets, along with the Little Caesars Family 4-Packs, can be purchased at the JLA Box Office (313-471-7575), all Ticketmaster (800-745-3000) outlets, and online at DetroitRedWings.com.

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