Performance: Calumet's Rory Anderson

January 13, 2017

Rory Anderson
Calumet senior – Hockey

Calumet may be Michigan’s northernmost high school, but its hockey program is known well from Lake Superior to the Ohio and Indiana borders – and earned plenty of respect again by downing Division 2 No. 5 Novi 5-1 last Friday and Division 1’s formerly top-ranked Brighton 4-1 on Saturday. Copper Kings captain Anderson led the way with a goal in both games plus a combined three assists and some valuable checking to earn the Michigan National Guard “Performance of the Week.”

Anderson is a returning all-stater and his team’s leading scorer for the second straight season, this winter with nine goals and 13 assists and a +5 rating (his team has scored five more goals than it’s given up with him on the ice) over 12 games. He had 49 points as a junior and 27 as a sophomore and for his career has 40 goals and 58 assists over 63 games. Neither Brighton nor Novi’s top lines scored during his time on the ice over the weekend, and as a result of those wins the Copper Kings moved up from No. 10 in Division 3 to No. 7 and improved to 6-5-1 after starting this season 0-4.

A three-sport athlete, Anderson will play shortstop, catcher and do some pitching this spring for the baseball team, and also made the media-selected all-Upper Peninsula Dream Team in football this fall helping Calumet set a school record for wins in finishing 10-2. He ran for 741 yards and 16 touchdowns and also averaged 34.3 yards per kick return with two more scores. He’s undecided what he’ll do after high school but would be interested in continuing his athletic career; first though, Anderson is focused on carrying the hockey team deep into the postseason after his Copper Kings fell in the postseason's first round last winter to Houghton and then watched neighbor Hancock emerge from their Regional to win its first MHSAA championship since 1999.

Coach Dan Giachino said: “Rory is important to our team for many reasons. Not only has he been our leading scorer for the past two seasons, but he has been one of our best defensive forwards. Rory's line is consistently matched up against the opposing team's top line, and he continually does an excellent job keeping the opposing top line off the scoresheet. Rory's work ethic is always apparent at practice, and he has learned over the past two years that he has the ability to push his linemates with his hard work. … Off the ice, Rory is 3.0 student and has a great presence in the locker room. As a junior, he was named assistant captain, and this year, he was a natural fit to be our captain. Our coaching staff is always pushing kids to be 'quietly confident' in their abilities, and Rory has been a player that brings that to the locker room each day.”

Performance Point: “It was all around a good weekend,” Anderson said. “Everyone was playing hard … it wasn’t just me doing everything, but my players around me, my teammates helping me out and me helping them out. (The highlight) I think was making the play for the go-ahead goal against Brighton, to make us go ahead 2-1, passing it over to Scotty Loukus. I got the puck in the defensive zone, and I thought to myself that I needed to get it out. I chipped it to Scotty, he gave it back to me, and I saw the open ice. I was patiently waiting on the side boards, and then I gave it back to him.”

Handing off success: “There’s quite a few guys who also played football, and after the season we had there on the football team we carried a lot of momentum going into hockey season. It's just the things we do in football, the leadership and everything, that carries over and that’s what we want. To be honest, some of us players didn’t really (expect the football success) at the beginning of the season, but once we started going, we got a good idea we could go far, and that’s what we did. I think we could have a really good (hockey) run, for my last year. We have a good team.”

Captain Anderson: “It’s a big role to fill. With all the guys there, all the seniors there, and a new (captain) that’s picked, it’s tough. But it’s fun too. I keep all the guys together, just being vocal on the benches and in the locker room and during practice. (It’s) just talking, helping the kids who it might be their first year there.”

Bigger, faster, smarter: “During the offseason, I put in a lot of work lifting, and I think I’ve gotten a lot faster and smarter. Just watching other people, watching what they do at higher levels, and carrying that to my level, I think it’s made me smarter – what to do without the puck, moving around to get open so other people can get me the puck, and then when I have the puck where to skate and what to do with it. I really like watching (the Washington Capitals’) T.J. Oshie. The things he does, he’s a big hitter, he can play the body and he also does a lot of stuff with the puck.”

If Hancock can do it: “After watching them go on their state run, we just kinda figured if they can do it, we can do it. Watching them go to the Finals, it’s a local team and you’re always paying attention to what other teams around the area are doing. I know just about every single one of them, and I think most people wanted to see them go far.

- Geoff Kimmerly, Second Half editor

Every week during the 2016-17 school year, Second Half and the Michigan National Guard will recognize a “Performance of the Week" from among the MHSAA's 750 member high schools.

The Michigan Army National Guard provides trained and ready forces in support of the National Military Strategy, and responds as needed to state, local, and regional emergencies to ensure peace, order, and public safety. The Guard adds value to our communities through continuous interaction. National Guard soldiers are part of the local community. Guardsmen typically train one weekend per month and two weeks in the summer. This training maintains readiness when needed, be it either to defend our nation's freedom or protect lives and property of Michigan citizens during a local natural disaster. 

Previous 2016-17 honorees:
Dec. 15: Demetri Martin, Big Rapids basketball Read
Dec. 1: Rodney Hall, Detroit Cass Tech football Read
Nov. 24: Ally Cummings, Novi volleyball Read
Nov. 17: Chloe Idoni, Fenton volleyball Read
Nov. 10: Adelyn Ackley, Hart cross country Read
Nov. 3: Casey Kirkbride, Mattawan soccer – Read
Oct. 27: Colton Yesney, Negaunee cross country Read
Oct. 20: Varun Shanker, Midland Dow tennis Read
Oct. 13: Anne Forsyth, Ann Arbor Pioneer cross country – Read
Oct. 6: Shuaib Aljabaly, Coldwater cross country – Read
Sept. 29: Taylor Seaman, Brighton swimming & diving – Read
Sept. 22: Maggie Farrell, Battle Creek Lakeview cross country – Read
Sept. 15: Franki Strefling, Buchanan volleyball – Read
Sept. 8: Noah Jacobs, Corunna cross country – Read

PHOTOS: (Top) Calumet's Rory Anderson prepares to receive the puck during a game last season. (Middle) Anderson looks for an opening after taking a hand-off during football season this fall. (Photos courtesy of the Calumet athletic department.)

Hockey Players Transferring Winter Puck Skills to Spring Golf Swings

By Tom Lang
Special for

May 26, 2023

When the Michigan seasons shift from winter to spring, some high school golf teams are a little more eager than others for the hockey season to officially end.

This is especially true for the school golf programs in Brighton, Hartland and Muskegon Mona Shores – examples of boys teams that love having hockey players transition from the indoor frozen ice to play golf outdoors on the lush green grass.

“I would take a golf team full of hockey players any day,” said Hartland golf coach Nathan Oake. “I love them.”

We can tell, because his program is full of them.

Hartland and Brighton each have eight hockey players on their 16-golfer varsity and JV rosters.

Mona Shores has three hockey players this year, but usually has more. In 2023 it’s Oliver MacDonald (all-state honorable mention in hockey), Nathan McNarland and Nicholas Taylor, who was voted Division 1 all-state golf last spring, then leading his team to fifth place at the MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 1 Final.

Hartland’s Ian Kastamo (16) takes a faceoff against Brighton this winter. Brighton golfer Winston Lerch was also Division 1 all-state last year in golf and an assistant captain on the hockey team this winter that finished Division 1 runner-up to Detroit Catholic Central. Here in 2023, he shot a 65 to open the season at Oakland University for medalist and has committed to Grand Valley State for golf with his 72-stroke average.

Joining Lerch in the Bulldogs boys golf program are hockey players like Levi Pennala, winner of hockey’s Wall Award sponsored by State Champs as the top high school goalie. Pennala – who recently shot 72 at the Kensington Lakes Activities Association championship tournament, his career low for high school golf – finished in the top 30 last year at the LPD1 Final. Then early this spring when he was away at a high-level junior hockey tournament, freshman hockey player Adam Forcier stepped in and shot a school record 18-hole round for a freshman at 73. Jacob Daavetilla also works into the starting lineup at times.

Forcier tied the record of Davis Codd – who, as a pro hockey player on leave from the Saginaw Spirit OHL hockey team when COVID-19 shut down the league, won the LPD1 Final in 2021 for Brighton.

Brighton golf coach Jimmy Dewling said Codd was one of the earliest to prove to others you can play both hockey and golf and excel. In fact, that June in 2021, Codd went to an NHL scouting camp in Pennsylvania before the Golf Finals, drove overnight back to Forest Akers to play the two championship rounds, won the title, then immediately returned to Pennsylvania to resume the hockey camp.

“On our team, we believe, and TBone (Codd) was a perfect example of it, if there’s any time you have the opportunity to be competitive, it is going to make you a more well-rounded competitor and therefore better at your particular sport,” Dewling said.

“We like hockey players. In the winter, they have to think to where the puck is going, be smart enough to react, and understand how that emotion is going to carry over from one play to the next. When it’s your shift you have to forget about the last shift, or take something from the last shift and put it into the next shift, to have consistent play.

“It’s the same on the golf course,” Dewling continued. “It’s one hole to the next, one shot at a time, being tough, and that’s only going to come from competition reps. We love the athletic ability more so than anything; the toughness and competitiveness all year.”

In addition to Lerch and Pennala starting on varsity golf, they are joined by traditional golfers Matt Doyle, Riley Morton and Andrew Daily, who is committed to Wayne State and finished LPD1 runner-up last spring.

Mona Shores’ Nicholas Taylor fires an iron shot. Going into the 2023 golf postseason, Brighton is ranked No. 2 in Division 1. The Bulldogs have won the Next Tee Invite at Oakland Hills, the North Star Invite at Plum Hollow and the KLAA Conference Championship – earning Brighton’s first conference title since 2007. The Bulldogs also were runners-up at The Meadows Invite at Grand Valley State University. The team is averaging 297 for 18 holes.

Oake admitted this is a rebuilding year for Hartland’s golf program. The varsity lineup has only two returning players with varsity golf experience – Keller King and Brady Betteley.

“So, we opted to keep a group of tough competitors with a solid combination of speed and strength – and who are not concerned about the cold conditions that we play in,” Oake quipped.

Five others rotate into the Eagles’ golf starting lineup with King and Betteley: Isaac Frantti is an all-state hockey defensemen playing his first season of golf but shot a career-low 79 at American Dunes recently. He just signed a United State Premier Hockey League tender to play in Connecticut next year. Ian Kastamo scored the winning goal in Hartland’s Division 2 hockey championship victory in 2022, and LJ Sabala is a varsity hockey player as well.

Then there are two non-hockey freshmen getting shots to start occasionally – Dallas Korponic, who finished third at his weight at the Individual Wrestling Finals, and Michael Maurin. Five more sophomores and juniors are hockey players on the JV golf team.

We hope to be competitive with (Brighton) again soon, but they have the talent to make a big splash this year,” Oake said. “I also play golf at the same club as many Brighton players, so I see them quite a bit and we are friendly. When the Brighton team walked by our team on a recent Monday and all said hello to me and our guys, one of my players looked at me and said that this was the biggest difference between hockey and golf. In hockey, the small talk would be (traded) for the ice, and it would not be very nice out there.

“Either way, I believe both sports are filled with fierce competitors and respect, but when the game is over a handshake and a golf hat tip are offered to the victor.”

This story was updated and reposted with permission of

PHOTOS (Top) Brighton takes a team photo after finishing third at last season’s LPD1 Final, and all five golfers are back this season including hockey players Levi Pennala (second from left) and Winston Lerch (second from right.) (Middle) Hartland’s Ian Kastamo (16) takes a faceoff against Brighton this winter. (Below) Mona Shores’ Nicholas Taylor fires an iron shot. (Photos courtesy of High School Sports Scene, Sapshots Photography and Mona Shores’ athletic department, respectively.)