Macomb County, Oakland County
Conference bragging rights
January 29, 2014
ROCHESTER — Come one, come all.
And let the bragging rights begin.
With the high school hockey season entering its final stretch before the playoffs begin, teams throughout the state are ramping up their schedules in preparation for what they hope is a tournament full of victories.
And for many teams, said schedule ramping comes by way of showcase participation.
For teams in the Macomb Area Conference and the Oakland Activities Association, Feb. 1 will serve as the day to shine.
“Every year, it’s something special,” Utica Eisenhower coach and president of MAC hockey Bob Hall said last week. “It brings the leagues together in a little friendly competition. Most of us coaches are friends and have met and competed over the years. So, it makes for a great day of hockey.”
Using a system of rankings, as well as consideration to the season’s pre-arranged schedule, teams in each conference are ranked and then paired with their counterpart from the other league.
So, the top-ranked team in the MAC plays against the top-ranked team in the OAA, as long as they aren’t scheduled to play each other at some other point during the season.
Games begin around noon and will last until roughly 10 p.m., with all rinks at the Rochester Onyx Arena welcoming fans, families and scouts.
“Showcases always provide that exposure you want for the kids and the teams,” said Rochester United coach Craig Staskowski.
His team, along with Rochester Hills Stoney Creek, is serving as the showcase host this winter.
“It’s nice to know there are scouts there, and a good amount of people with interest in the kids. We’ll have 26 teams in one venue, and that gives kids a chance to shine,” Staskowski added.
It also gives the conference a chance to pull for one another.
“Being neighboring counties, I think there is a little something about bragging rights for the league on the line,” Staskowski said. “It’s one of those things where you take pride in your league and the one day all year where you really root for some of the teams you spend the rest of the season playing against.”
Since the MAC-OAA Showcase began five seasons ago, teams from Oakland County have held the upper hand.
In 2010, OAA teams finished with a 7-4-3 record, followed by a 9-4-2 mark in 2011, a 7-4-4 finish in 2012 and an 11-4-0 mark last year.
“The OAA has been together a little longer than us, and they’ve done a good job growing their conference,” Hall said. “At the same time, I think there are some teams in the MAC that have caught up. Now, the challenge is building the entire conference up to their level and having it at a fairly even playing field every year. But we’re always going to root for teams in the MAC.”
For a complete schedule of games, visit www.MAChockey.com and click on the Showcase link.