By: Joey Battaino
Today was a landmark day for the Michigan Warriors franchise of the NAHL. Former star forward Ryan Green signed a pro contract with the ECHL's Stockton Thunder after just one season at the University of Windsor. Green becomes the first ever Michigan Warriors alum to go to the pro ranks.
When I heard the news earlier today, I got to thinking. Here was a guy that was captain of a team that had one win on January 3rd, 2011, the day Green was traded to the Warriors along with Jeremy Hummeny from the Port Huron Fighting Falcons. It was Green's last season of junior eligibility and he wanted to go to a team with a chance to win. He had 13 goals and 17 assists in 28 regular season games with the Warriors in 2010-11. He also lead the team in playoff scoring with 13 points as the Warriors went all the way to the Robertson Cup National Championship game in their first season of existence. But Green presence off the ice was even bigger that his presence on it (Hard to believe with his 6'3 210 lbs stature)
Green's roommate when he came to the Warriors was Justin Hoomaian, who is going into his sophomore season at Michigan State University. "Greener was a great teammate and an awesome roommate," Hoomaian said. "He's a funny guy that kept everybody loose and was always there when someone on the team needed something,"
When we were on the road, Greener and Hoom's room was always populated with the guys just hanging out. I was lucky enough to room next door to them in Topeka for the Robertson Cup. One night, after I thought Green had a lackluster game, I went over to talk to him about it. Now I know i'm not a coach, and Moe Mantha is one of the best, but I'm sure even he agrees, sometimes it's just better to hear it from someone else. Greener, myself and Hooms as well, sat in the room and talked about the game until curfew. We discussed Situations where better decisions could have been made. The next night, the Warriors had an elimination game against the home town Topeka Roadrunners. Green didn't score but he had two assists in a 5-2 Warriors victory. After that, Green, myself, and Hoomaian had post game chats the rest of the way.
Another funny story with Green took place when defenseman Kevin Killian found out Green had been traded to the Warriors. Killian took to photoshop and put Green's face on a Jolly green giant advertisement . Greener could dish it out just as well as he took it. Green always came to the rink with a positive attitude. You could always hear his signature, " HOWSS IT GOINNN?" all the way down the hall. On the bus during a long road trip, he was always the guy who had a joke to loosen it up. But he was also no-nonsense on the ice. In fact, when the Warriors signed him, he came to Flint with a nasty reputation of being a hot-head and not being able to stay out of the box. Green found his composure with the Warriors. After 96 PIMS in 26 games with Port Huron, Green had only 39 PIMS in 28 games with the Warriors.
I wish Greener the best of luck as he moves on to the ECHL affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers and I hope to see you suit up with Hall, Eberle, and RNH really soon. Oh and that Yakapov guy, too.
Photo Courtesy: Mlive.com