The stakes are a little higher for MacLeod’s second stint in the sport.
MacLeod was the team- and league-leader in assists for the Eastern Michigan University ‘B’ team during its season that ran from late November through March. Because of his strong play, he was asked to move up to the Eagles’ ‘A’ team for their trip to the National College Roller Hockey Association national tournament next month.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” MacLeod said, a 2008 Spring Lake High School graduate. “A lot more fun than I thought it was going to be.”
Although it’s merely a club sport at EMU, that doesn’t disminish the excitement the Eagles are feeling heading into the tournament, which will be held indoors from April 11-14 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
“We’ve got to pay for our plane ticket out there, but EMU may pay for our hotels,” MacLeod said.
“The ‘A’ team has already beaten (Michigan State) and they’re considered one of the top contenders,” he added. “So we’re hoping to make a strong run out there.”
The tournament is divided into four pools, and after games against three other teams in their respective pool, the Eagles will be seeded into the single-elimination bracket. MacLeod said EMU is expecting stiff competition from California schools such as Linedenwood and UC Santa Barbara, and several programs from Florida are also traditionally very strong.
MacLeod played travel ice hockey during his high school days, competing with the Holland Ice Dogs and Grand Valley Stars. From there, MacLeod took his game to the next level, as he laced up his skates with the Holy Cross (Ind.) College ice hockey team. He enjoyed considerable success with the Saints, as he led the team in points (goals and assists) his freshman season and tied for the team lead his sophomore year.
He transferred to Eastern Michigan for his junior season, however, because the school offered more academic opportunities than Holy Cross. MacLeod is majoring in sports management and hopes to one day become a director of operations for a hockey program, or an athletic director.
Ice hockey is not offered as a varsity sport at Eastern, but MacLeod said he strived to remain active in sport once he arrived in Yspilanti.
“It just happened by chance,” he said. “I saw a sign about the team and decided to call the coach. I went and tried out. Actually, my first time, I had the wrong kind of wheels, so I was sliding all over the place.”
Despite that mishap, coaches were impressed with MacLeod’s skill set and asked him to come back. MacLeod said it has been someone of a transition to from ice to inline hockey.
“The biggest adjustment is just stopping. You can’t stop on a dime or turn as sharp as in ice hockey,” he said. “Especially when you’re driving to the net, it’s tough to control yourself. I’m still struggling with it a little bit.”
MacLeod said the shots are faster in inline hockey and the puck is a little wider.
“My passing has transitioned over pretty well,” MacLeod said, who is primarily a defenseman for EMU.
He led the Eagles’ ‘B’ team to an 8-4-2 record, but they were eliminated in the regional tournament.
MORLOCK EARNING HONORS AT AUGSBURG
Grand Haven graduate Will Morlock enjoyed a strong sophomore season at Augsburg College in Minneapolis.
The sophomore goal keeper earned second-team all-conference recognition in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, after posting a 5-2-1 record, five shutouts and a 0.59 goals-against average. His GAA was the second-lowest among MIAC goalies and his shutout total was the third-best in the league.
Morlock has 14 wins through his first two seasons at Augsburg, which is the fourth-best total in school history.
Academically, Morlock was also recently named to the Dean’s List at Augsburg, as well as the MIAC’s Academic All-Confernece team.