Stenman Provides Boost to Cranbrook Kingswood Blue Line

By Keith Dunlap
Special for MHSAA.com

March 5, 2021

Having lived in northern California for the past decade, needless to say, there was a bit of a weather adjustment for Leyton Stenman when he arrived last year to attend school at Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood.

Before coming here last year, I didn’t even own a pair of pants,” Stenman said.

He obviously has since solved that issue, and has not only settled into life during Michigan winters, but at school and also as one of the state’s best prep hockey players.

A 6-foot, 170-pound defenseman, Stenman was an all-state player last year in his first year playing high school hockey in Michigan, tying for the team lead in goals with 11 even though he plays along the blue line.

Entering action on Friday, Stenman has eight points (three goals, five assists) in nine games for the Cranes.

“He really came on during the last month of last year,” Cranbrook head coach John LaFontaine said. “He’s got a knack for finding the net from the point. He’s got a really good shot. He’s got really good vision, and he’s worked on release from the point. He’s got a lot of velocity on his shot and good accuracy.”

Despite spending most of his childhood in suburban San Jose, Stenman has Michigan roots, which is how he got into hockey in the first place.

Living in Ann Arbor until he was 6, Stenman would regularly visit the Ann Arbor Ice Cube to watch his sister, who was a figure skater.

“I just thought it was cool to watch,” Stenman said. “Then I convinced my parents to let me skate.”

Even after he moved out to California, Stenman stayed active in hockey, taking advantage of the increased presence of ice rinks and youth teams as a result of the San Jose Sharks being a staple in the community.

But one thing California has little of is high school hockey, and it’s common for players there as they age to look toward the Midwest and East Coast to further their development.

The travel hockey that took him away from schoolwork also was a hindrance in California.

“I wanted to play for my school,” Stenman said.

So Stenman and his family researched possibilities on the East Coast and Midwest, but through his mother growing up in Michigan and the family's time in Ann Arbor, they knew a lot about Cranbrook.

After applying to the school and getting accepted, Stenman said he then visited Wallace Ice Arena.

His jaw immediately dropped looking up at the banners in the rafters and hardware in the trophy case, and he knew then he was in the right place.

“It was all I needed to see,” Stenman said. “You walk in and see all the trophies and all the state championships. It was pretty amazing.”

In the coming month, Stenman will hope to add to Cranbrook’s record number of MHSAA Finals championships by helping the program win title No. 18 during the Division 3 playoffs, which would actually break a drought by Cranbrook’s standards.

Cranbrook hasn’t won the Finals since 2015.

Beyond high school, Stenman already has options.

In November, he signed a tender to play next season in the North American Hockey League for the Aberdeen Wings. He hopes that exposure will lead to an opportunity to play for a prominent college program.

“Anyone in the Big 10 is the dream,” Stenman said. “But I’ll be happy to play at any Division I program.”

When he sets off on his hockey journey beyond high school, Stenman now should at least have a few pairs of pants in tow.

PHOTO: Cranbrook Kingswood’s Logan Stenman looks to make his next move during a game last season against Detroit Catholic Central (Photo courtesy of C&G Newspapers.)

Brother Rice's Rosa Relishing Final Run with High School Hockey

By Keith Dunlap
Special for MHSAA.com

January 26, 2023

If the Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice hockey team ends up winning the Division 2 championship in March, it could be said that the journey to that title started in August with an offer he wasn't ready to accept.

Greater DetroitThat’s when senior Peter Rosa who was coming off an all-state season last year as a junior — went to Louisiana to train for a few days with the Shreveport Mudbugs, a team in the North American Hockey League. 

Rosa said at that point he was already wanting to come back to Brother Rice for his senior season, but given how he impressed the Mudbugs coaching staff during that camp, it didn’t stop Shreveport coaches from trying to change Rosa’s mind after they informed him he had a roster spot if he wanted it. 

“They wanted me there,” Rosa said. “They said, ‘Are you sure you don’t want to come develop here?’"

But Rosa stuck with his original intentions, saying thanks, but no thanks, so he could play one final year of high school hockey. 

As a result, Rosa is already going down in the history books as one of the best to ever play for a storied Brother Rice program.

Following Tuesday’s win against Warren De La Salle Collegiate, Rosa has 22 goals and 25 assists in 17 games for the Warriors this winter.

He is No. 2 on the school’s all-time points list with 116, although he likely won’t be able to catch leader Mackenzie MacEachern, who had 154 points during his time at Brother Rice.

However, odds are good that Rosa will be able to overtake MacEachern’s record of 65 goals scored in a career, since Rosa currently is at 59. 

Rosa is a versatile 5-foot-10, 175-pound offensive stalwart who can play center and both wing positions. 

Rosa raises his stick in celebration after scoring Rice's first goal in the eventual 4-2 loss. When Brother Rice lost to Trenton in a Division 2 Semifinal last year, Brother Rice head coach Kenny Chaput said odds were good at the time that it would be the last time he would coach Rosa.

“I was fully planning on that being his final game with us,” he said.

Rosa went to Shreveport following the season to practice and meet the team in what was his first encounter with the Mudbugs before going back in August.

But throughout the summer, Chaput, through conversations with Peter’s dad and Brother Rice assistant coach Todd Rosa, had an inkling that Peter preferred to play at Brother Rice for his senior year.

Once the official word came from Peter at the beginning of the school year that he was coming back, there was a challenge for Chaput. 

Given Rosa was good enough to play at junior level, it was tempting for coaches to feel they didn’t have anything left to teach Rosa in high school. 

“I had to make sure I went above to push him so he doesn’t get stale with things,” Chaput said. “It’s still a challenge because he gets things done that a lot of other kids don’t. But there’s tweaks in his game that he still needs to do, so we’ll continue to push him the best we can. Obviously, we didn’t want him to have a year where he didn’t get pushed and he didn’t progress.” 

With Rosa in the fold, Brother Rice is an obvious contender to win its second Division 2 title in three years. 

“I don’t think there’s anything like playing for your school and for your classmates,” said Rosa, who said he’s not sure yet if he’ll play in Shreveport or for another junior team after he finishes high school. “Having the benefit of hanging out with kids in school all day, and then coming to practice with them and playing with them, I’ve built relationships with many kids on the team that I wouldn’t trade anything for. I’ve had a great experience.”

Even worse for opponents is that after the loss to Trenton in that Semifinal, Rosa is motivated for redemption. 

“That’ll leave a pretty bad taste in your mouth,” Rosa said. “I just felt like I had some unfinished business.”

If that business ends up being finished, opponents will sure wish those Shreveport coaches could’ve changed Rosa’s mind in August. 

Keith DunlapKeith Dunlap has served in Detroit-area sports media for more than two decades, including as a sportswriter at the Oakland Press from 2001-16 primarily covering high school sports but also college and professional teams. His bylines also have appeared in USA Today, the Washington Post, the Detroit Free Press, the Houston Chronicle and the Boston Globe. He served as the administrator for the Oakland Activities Association’s website from 2017-2020. Contact him at keithdunlap78@gmail.com with story ideas for Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Brother Rice's Peter Rosa gains steam on a rush during last season's Division 2 Semifinal against Trenton at USA Hockey Arena. (Middle) Rosa raises his stick in celebration after scoring Rice's first goal in the eventual 4-2 loss.