'Team 43' Delivers 1st Livonia Title

March 9, 2013

By Bill Khan
Special to Second Half

PLYMOUTH — Livonia is one of the great hockey communities in Michigan, but had never been home to an MHSAA Finals champion.

Until now.

Livonia Stevenson brought a championship to the birthplace of former NHL star Mike Modano, beating Hartland 5-4 in the Division 2 title game Saturday at Compuware Arena.

Prior to this weekend, Livonia's three hockey-playing schools had combined for only eight regional championships during the 39-year history of the MHSAA tournament and just one semifinal appearance (Stevenson in 1987). It doesn't help that the Livonia schools often encounter some of the state's perennial powerhouses early in the postseason. Stevenson has been eliminated 10 times by Detroit Catholic Central and five times by Trenton in regional play.

"I couldn't be happier for the Stevenson administration, the alumni and the whole Livonia community," fifth-year Stevenson coach David Mitchell said. "We're in the 43rd year of high school hockey in Livonia.
We're the 43rd team in Stevenson history. This is the first chance a Livonia school has had to play in a state final. To get it done, this is not just for Stevenson, but for all of Livonia high school hockey. We've had some great teams and some great kids go through our program. To do it is very special. Hopefully, the whole community can enjoy this."

To win its first championship, Stevenson denied Hartland the same opportunity. The Eagles had won 11 regional titles before this season, reaching the semifinals only twice until playing in their first final on Saturday.

Hartland coach Rick Gadwa praised captains Nick Pleshakov, Justin Bailey and Ned O'Boyle for laying the foundation for Hartland's first march to the championship game.

"These three guys changed Hartland hockey," Gadwa said. "It was their leadership on and off the ice. We put Hartland on the map. That's something that hopefully stays."

Junior Dominic Lutz was the star in Stevenson's historic season, scoring 42 goals with 32 assists in 31 games to easily lead the Spartans in scoring. It was fitting that the 6-foot, 185-pound forward scored the team's biggest goals in the championship game, popping in two in a 2:37 span of the second period to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 advantage. Stevenson never surrendered the lead.

"We've been preaching Team 43," Lutz said. "It's just great to see it all come together in the end. We've got it. It's unbelievable. We're like a family. This is the closest team I've ever played on."

Stevenson senior Travis Harvey, who scored two goals and had two assists in the semifinal on Friday, opened the scoring off a faceoff win at 4:55 of the first period. Hartland junior Austin Flores tied it off a
feed from Chris McRae at 6:26 of the first.

Despite being outplayed in the first period, Hartland found itself on top by a 2-1 count when McRae scored just 54 seconds into the second period.

The pace picked up considerably after that, as the teams combined for five goals during an 8:18 span. Stevenson took the lead for good on two goals by Lutz at 4:30 and 7:07 and Harvey's second goal of the game at

O'Boyle brought Hartland within 4-3 at the 9:56 mark, only to have Stevenson regain a two-goal advantage at 12:48 on a goal by Ray Chartier.

"We would rather not play that way," Mitchell said. "We'd rather play a little more defensive and shut things down. These guys, when they see opportunities, they tend to go. We saw a few opportunities and
took some. Give Hartland credit. We were starting to look for goals and they caught us and they turned around and buried some of their own. They played an outstanding game."

"It was just go, go, go," O'Boyle said. "It was incredible emotionally."

Hartland didn't take long to trim the lead once the puck dropped in the third period, making it a 5-4 game on a goal by McRae at the 14-second mark.

The Eagles had eight more shots on net the rest of the game, but couldn't get another puck past Stevenson goalie Connor Humitz. Hartland called timeout with 2:21 left and pulled goalie Nick Wineka in the final minute, but couldn't generate a shot in that time against an aggressive Stevenson forecheck.

"We just want to keep it deep in their zone as much as we can," Lutz said. "Just gain the red line, get it deep and forecheck. We didn't want anything in our zone. We wanted everything down there, just keep
all the pressure off Connor. It seemed like it worked out."

Stevenson finished with a 23-7-1 record, while Hartland ended 19-9-2.

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Livonia Stevenson players celebrate a goal during Saturday's Division 2 Final in front of their fan section at Compuware Arena. (Middle) Hartland goaltender Nick Wineka makes one of his 35 saves Saturday. (Photos by Hockey Weekly Action Photos.)

Traverse Bay Reps Teammates Unite to Take on Great Lakes Paddle Board Pursuit

By Tom Spencer
Special for MHSAA.com

August 3, 2023

Twenty years ago, Kwin Morris and Jeff Guy were teammates on an MHSAA Quarterfinal-qualifying hockey team.

Made in Michigan is powered by Michigan Army National Guard.Guy even scored the winning goal in the Regional Final for Bay Area Reps, which topped Traverse City West 2-1.

This summer’s accomplishment, though, will go deeper in the history books.

Guy and Morris teamed up with Joe Lorenz to complete a dream that started a decade ago. They crossed all five of the Great Lakes on paddle boards while raising awareness and funds for water quality.

They put their balance, endurance and stick-handling skills together for the cause.

‘After 10 years and over one hundred grand raised for the lakes, it feels amazing,” Morris said. “I think the best part is knowing my kids will grow up knowing their old man did something cool for the environment in a unique way.”

It all started at a December social event in Traverse City. Guy, a financial adviser, and Morris, a middle school science teacher, had just gotten into paddle boarding when they began to wonder if they could cross Lake Michigan.  

Lorenz, a personal trainer, promptly gave assurances they could — and joined them — even though he had never been on a paddle board prior to the holiday gathering.

Morris, Guy and Lorenz successfully crossed Lake Michigan in 2015, pausing in the cold of the night to look at the Northern Lights.  They finished the nearly 100-kilometer journey in just under 25 hours. That accomplishment convinced them to launch Stand Up for Great Lakes, a non-profit organization to raise money and awareness for the protection of the lakes.

The trio also is supporting the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research, a non-profit housed at the University of Michigan.

“It feels amazing to have finished crossing all five lakes and complete a lifelong goal,” Guy acknowledged. “The dollars and awareness we have raised is incredible, and hopefully it continues to grow.”

Lake Huron was the toughest to cross by far, the former Reps noted. The 90-mile, 29-hour paddle brought seven hours of rain and high waves.

“Plus Joe knocked me in and Jeff fell in after catching a fish,” Morris observed.

Ontario was the team’s second-hardest challenge and the shortest paddle. Huge waves from the side all day took quite a toll on the paddlers, who were accompanied by safety boats on each crossing.   

Lake Superior featured glassy water, a spectacular sunset and the paddlers pausing to conduct a ceremony over the Edmund Fitzgerald shipwreck. The northernmost Great Lake ranks as the group’s favorite.

Guy, Morris and Joe Lorenz take a photo together on the lake shore. Guy graduated from Kalkaska High School in 2003 and went on to play hockey at Hope College. He also played football, baseball and golf for the Blazers. He and his wife, Melissa, have a daughter, Emma.

Morris graduated in 2005 from Elk Rapids High School, where he also played baseball. He went on to get a teaching degree from Western Michigan University. He and his wife, Megan, have two children, Fitz and Knox. He now works for his former school district, teaching science.

The pair played for the Reps through a co-op hosted by Traverse City St. Francis that included athletes from Charlevoix, Elk Rapids, Kalkaska, Kingsley, Lake Leelanau St Mary, Mancelona and Suttons Bay. The Reps’ first coach was Michigan High School Hockey Coaches Association Hall of Fame inductee Rex Luxton. He coached through 2008.

Morris and Guy look back at their high school playing days and coach with fondness.

“We had some great teams, and I think I still have the career goal record there,” Guy recalled. “Also, our coach on the Reps Rex Luxton was highly motivational to me while playing for him and later in life.”

Morris echoed Guy.

“I loved the whole experience,” Morris said. “Playing for my high school … Friday night games … school rivalries … playing for Rex Luxton … amazing friends and teammates — almost surreal that it will have been 20 years.”

The former coaching staff of the Reps are not at all surprised Morris and Guy challenged themselves to make a difference for the Great Lakes.

The coaching staff remembers Guy as a natural scorer coming through with big goals, and Morris as a strong two-way player who scored five goals in one period in Sault Ste. Marie. The past coaches also remember all the traveling the two did for practice and games because of the geographic nature of the squad.

“I had no idea they had any interest in the water kind of stuff,” Luxton said of his former players’ feat. “When I started following their bid to raise awareness, it didn’t surprise me they would attempt something like this.

Morris accepts a medal during the 2004-05 season.“I think it illustrates how much determination they have and how much hard work they were willing to put in,” he continued. “It is just outstanding, particularly with the cold weather in the Great Lakes.”

Cody Inglis, a senior assistant director for the MHSAA, was an assistant coach for the Reps during all of Morris and Guy’s time with the co-op. He finds himself beaming with pride and happiness knowing these former players are giving back and making it a better world.

“What Jeff and Kwin have done physically and mentally to cross all of the Great Lakes on stand-up paddle boards is remarkable in itself,” Inglis pointed out. “When you add in the fact that they have put in charitable causes and the preservation of the Great Lakes as a reason for doing it – it makes it even more special.

“It’s not surprising given my recollection and remembrances of Jeff and Kwin, as they were really good hockey players and better people.”

High school hockey is where Morris and Guy’ friendship blossomed. Spending 24 or more hours together — and with Lorenz — has forged a greater lifetime bond that already had included being a part of each other’s weddings.

But they admit they had no inkling of this type of accomplishment back in high school.  

“Sports were the most important thing in my life in high school,” Guy revealed. “Working really hard to win as many games as possible was the main goal – along with getting good grades and trying to get into a good college.”

But teamwork, learned on the ice and through other high school sports, can make anything possible.

“Any sport where you have to work as a team helps push yourself out of your comfort zone,” Morris concluded. “That's where the best things in life happen.”

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PHOTOS (Top) Clockwise from top left: Jeff Guy celebrates a goal while playing for Traverse Bay Reps with Kwin Morris to his left, Guy (left) and Morris (right) take a photo after one of their paddle board trips, and Morris bringing the puck up the ice for the Reps. (Middle) Guy, Morris and Joe Lorenz take a photo together on the lake shore. (Below) Morris accepts a medal during the 2004-05 season. (Photos courtesy of Jeff Guy, Kwin and Jo Morris.)