HANCOCK, Mich. (WJMN) — When snow falls in the U.P. it means hockey season is around the corner. Michigan High School Hockey kicks off the season this weekend with the Calumet Copper Kings taking on the Hancock Bulldogs.
Tanner Kero, who has been a professional hockey player for the past five years, remembers the days of playing for Hancock high school.
Tanner Kero, Former Hancock Bulldog, Texas Stars Center said, “I loved playing high school hockey in Michigan. I think it’s having that school spirit, that support, especially in smaller towns like Houghton (or) Hancock, it’s something fun to do for sure you get all that support from your friends at school, you get to wear your jersey’s, your sweatshirt to class and I think it’s Michigan hockey as a whole has just been great. You see a lot of players that come from high school hockey in Michigan to go onto play farther hockey careers. I learned a lot as a young kid, especially when you’re a freshman playing high school hockey, was a tough adjustment right away, but it’s fun and I couldn’t ask for more.”
One match-up Tanner remembers were the times he faced the Copper Kings at the Calumet Colosseum.
“Yeah, I did. Obviously growing up just playing junior hockey there we always had games when there was travel hockey and we played up there, practicing up there. The games in high school when we play the Copper Kings were always out there. We know how intense those games got as well and the history of those rinks and a lot of those rinks in the U.P. are pretty special,” said Kero.
Even with a busy training camp this year, Tanner made sure he was able to watch this year’s Kraft Hockeyville USA because it brought him back.
“Yeah, I was. It’s pretty crazy watching that and knowing you were playing on that rink as a little kid and now there’s NHL players playing there. I’m sure that’s how the whole community thought when they were up there, really think they had an NHL game, you just remember a little bit smaller rinks, smaller stands and stuff and they did an unbelievable job and it came from a fan perspective it went great,” said Kero.
The Calumet Copper Kings play host to the Hancock Bulldogs Friday at 7 pm at the world-famous Calumet Colosseum.