Chris Brown, Michigan hockey team enter GLI tournament motivated
But a bigger part of the Michigan hockey freshman forward is glad to be right where he is, wearing a familiar hockey sweater.
Brown was the final forward cut from the U.S. Junior National World Team that is 2-0 at the World Championships. He, along with fellow forward David Wohlberg, represented Michigan at the tryouts, hoping to extend the Wolverines' string of having at least one player on the U.S. roster to 12 years.
But playing at the World Championships meant that Brown would not play in the Great Lakes Invitational, which begins today. Michigan faces Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at 7:30 p.m. today. Michigan State and Michigan Tech face off in the tournament opener at 4 p.m.
After being cut following a few days of two-a-days and two games, Brown returned to Ann Arbor last week, anxious to skate for Michigan at the GLI. Michigan coach Red Berenson said last week that while he felt the World Championship experience would have been good for Brown, having a full roster in Detroit certainly helps Michigan's chances at defending its tournament crown.
"This is where I want to be - playing for Michigan," Brown said after Monday's skate at Joe Louis Arena. "So I'm excited to be here."
If nothing else, Berenson said, being cut would give Brown reason to play well, proving that he should have been among the players representing the United States this week in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Although he could have benefitted from experiencing international play, Brown says he has an opportunity to make a name for himself at Michigan, helping to right the ship after a shaky first half that left the Wolverines at .500.
"It's motivation to prove something," Brown said. "Not only to USA Hockey, but to a lot of people, and so I am determined to play well."
Michigan has motivation to play well at the GLI. With a win today against RPI, the Wolverines would likely face rival Michigan State, which handed Michigan a pair of losses earlier this season.
And for a team trying to build some momentum for the second half of the season, a pair of wins in Detroit would be a step in the right direction. For Brown, he's glad to be part of the effort.
"I wasn't picked (for the U.S. team) for a reason," he said. "But it's over and done with and it's time to play for Michigan. This is where I have wanted to be my whole life."
Jeff Arnold covers Michigan hockey for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-623-2554. Follow him at Twitter @jeffreyparnold.