HOUGHTON, Mich. (WJMN) — Former Michigan Tech Husky Tanner Kero, who since left Michigan Tech in 2015, has gone on to play in 72 NHL games with the Chicago Blackhawks and is now continuing his career in the Dallas Stars AHL affiliate team, the Texas Stars.
Tanner grew up around the Michigan Tech and NMU rivalry as a kid and even went on to play in this match-up. But I spoke with Tanner earlier and asked him what can the fans expect going into this weekend’s rivalry match-up?
Tanner Kero, Texas Stars Center (AHL) said, “You hope to expect that both teams are going to be playing there best hockey, It doesn’t matter. Whenever I played or even growing up, no matter where the teams are in the standings, or whose in and out of the lineup, no matter whose playing that game, it’s gonna be their best game and it’s going to be a hard-fought, gritty, loud game. There’s always going to be the extra little scuffles after the whistle or the occasional fight here or there cause there’s a lot of bad blood there and you want to win that rivalry and it’s just that much more important.”
I asked Tanner if he had any words of wisdom for the players on the ice.
“Enjoy it, enjoy the time, enjoy that rivalry. I think it’s something special and I think there’s obviously rivalries as you go on in hockey, but there’s nothing quite like a local rivalry like that. You don’t really have that anywhere else. There are those games and those moments and make sure you do everything you can to get the win because it’s a bitter feeling when you don’t,” said Kero.
As a Copper Country native, we asked what was it like being a fan of this rivalry and then later on playing in the rivalry?
“Yeah, I mean, those games are a couple of my most fun games to play in is when you were playing for Tech, it was something you got a little extra amped up for. The community is all fired up, their fans down there are fired up, so whenever you play down there it’s extra load and you have the fans out traveling both places, so it’s a little home and home both ways with your fans and their fans. The rinks are always sold, pretty much full usually sold out. It’s always loud in there,” said Kero.
“You remember that rivalry as a fan and as a kid growing up, so when you are actually on the ice, taking part in it, it makes it even more special and more amped up and you get a little more bitterness towards Northern and that rivalry, especially when you are a player and you’re down on the ice in the action. So it’s always the game you look forward to, could either be really pumped up and be able to break for a while or you have a little soar feeling after those games.”
Thanks to Tanner for chatting with us.
The Northern Michigan Wildcats head up to Houghton tonight for a 7:07 pm puck drop against the Michigan Tech Huskies for their first matchup of the season in this home & home rivalry series. The same two take the ice in Marquette again Saturday at 6:07 pm.