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Prep School Hockey in Downtown Detroit

As part of Assignment Detroit, is working with 11 high school students from the Detroit area. They come from all walks of life, from suburban prep schools to city schools both strong and weak. The project will illustrate the Detroit region from their point of view—what it's like to live there now, and whether the area has a place in their future or not. You'll see their posts, both written and videotaped, over the course of the year here at Today's post, about a hockey game from this past weekend, is the first in our series.

Picture this: Over 1,500 residents of one of the richest areas of the country (suburban Oakland County) gathering in a poor section of Detroit to watch a high school hockey game—played on an outdoor rink. This was the scene on January 17 at Clark Park in Detroit's barrio.

The occasion was the 75th anniversary game between two prestigious suburban high school rivals: Cranbrook Kingswood vs. Catholic Central. The event was inspired by the NHL's own annual Winter Classic (played most recently in Boston's Fenway Park). Cranbrook grad Rick Loewenstein attended the 2009 Wrigley Field game between the Red Wings and  Blackhawks with his two sons, and came back thinking “Why doesn't Cranbrook have an outdoor classic?” Loewenstein, who captained Cranbrook's squad back in 1978, got coach Andrew Weidenbach on board, and Weidenbach signed up head CC coach and longtime friend Todd Johnson. Game on.

Or rather, an event was on. Two alumni games were also added so former players from both schools were able to come back and slip on their old skates to play against their old rivals. Little Caesars (whose founder, Mike Illitch, owns both the Red Wings and the Tigers), came on as sponsor, as did The Great American Rivalry Series, a Website that promotes these kinds of epic clashes. The schools agreed to donate an estimated $10,000 worth of hockey equipment, clinics, and ice time to the Clark Park Hockey League, which consists mostly of inner-city kids. And kids from both campuses committed to community service work for Clark Park.

As for the game, Division I champ Catholic Central won 5-2 over Cranbrook, which rules the local Division III league. Never mind that both schools' students have impending exams: The rowdy crowd did its bit to make the day more than memorable. One Cranbrook student roared for much of the 30 degree morning with his shirt off, while Cranbrook's coaches raised the sartorial level with matching overcoats and fedoras, and the teams themselves played in retro uniforms. All in all, the event was such a success that organizers say they hope this outdoor classic will become an annual event of its own.

–Michael St. Germain (Cranbrook Kingswood school)

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  • 1

    Yawn...I am so tired of these white kids visit the hood tales..Enough already

    How about Catholic Central returns to Detroit after fleeing because students were being eduated in the city students return to former site and ignore parents who fleed the city when neighorhood became full of negroes with negro dialects..

    How about Cranbrook Acadamey students exchange places with students in Central High School for entire year and then a party at night on a playground at Southwestern HS..

    • 1.1

      Shame on you, G,.T. Have you no sense of restraint whatsoever?
      Time is working with nearly a dozen teens from the city and beyond . . . potential future journalists. This ^ is how you choose to react, really?
      Think about being 17 or 18. Imagine writing something for a national publication's blog. Now think how you'd feel about seeing the first comment pissing on it strongly.
      I don't know Michael St. Germain, but I do know how proud I felt as a high schooler when my work ran in The Riverdale Press, a neighborhood weekly in the Bronx, N.Y. I'm glad no one like you chose to attack it.
      [Actually, quick clicks on the Intertubes show Michael is a senior from Brighton who earned nominations from U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers to the Naval Academy and West Point. So he's strong enough to shrug off an online bully.]

  • 2

    Great article, I love high school athletics and this sounds about as good as it gets. Good luck Michael.

  • 3

    Shame of you alanstamm for attacking me for having an opinion that does not comport to your reference points...

    Imagine Leroy or Nate living in these inner city venues and for decades nobody gives a fuck about them or thier venues and some shallow national media outlet who has never wrote anything but doom and gloom about his venue and his peers feel they are on some rightous mission by having a white teen write some tired, sapp about a drive by sportingg event to the hood..

    So yeah you go right ahead and put this margainal narrative on a pedestal and I will do insert my comments about the Leroy's and Nate's of the world who you give less than a fuck about and have no problem pissin one me becuase I do...

  • 4

    One other comment my opinion was not about the author who penned this tired suburban 'drive by' tale by the shallow nature of the event itself..

    I find it revealing how intellectual cowards like alanstamm have no problem inserting the author into his attack on my perspective without having the balls to address his empty comments at me directly...

    Yet that is the nature of intellectual cowards of course

  • 5

    If any of the young people who are going to write articles like this in the future reads this comments section, don't let the venom spewing Troll scare you. Im sure some of you will be reasonably new to the blogosphere and gthrasher is what we call a troll because he posts inflammatory material for little reason other than he enjoys being inflammatory. Of his seemingly hundreds of posts Mr. thrasher has not once made a positive or even agreeable statement. I really wonder why he continues to read the blog if he hates it so much.

    I think it is great to hear from the next generation that will living, working, and succeeding in our wonderful city. This segment is a great addition to the blog and I anxiously await further installments.

  • 6

    To Mr. St Germain, congratulations on a nice article. Sorry about your loss at the game, but it sounds like it was a fun time. Good luck with whatever you decide to do next year. I hope you decide to make a life in Michigan once you are finished with college.

    GT's comment above is an overly coarse critique of a high school senior, but it does point to patronizing undertones in Mr. St. Germain's article, which this blog's editors should have been shrewd enough to immediately address. I want to believe that because of the writer's age his intentions were innocent and the organizers held the event in Clark Park to shine a light on the great facilities. Even with presumably innocent intentions, Mr. St. Germain should learn a lesson about pride. The brief mention of the short-term charity aspect of the event does sound like money left on a nightstand.

    The organizers of next year's event should be mindful of community pride and do more to foster a two-way relationship between the schools and the Clark Park neighborhood. No one wants to be a charity case.

  • 7


    Please refrain from attacking me personally simply because I do not comport nor reflect your perspectives on a number of issues.

    You are not the arbiter of this site on any level...You like me are posters with opinons no more no less..Your need to call me a Troll is out of order nor are your accurate about the quanity and quality of my posts..

    I post on this site intentionally becuase of the objective and agenda of the TIME project. I know that TIME will get the usual posters like you who do not have the capacity to articulate the points of view of many people in inner city venues and in this region so I post here to provide for the TIME project people alternative views on whatever the topic is..

    The majority of my posts are very constructive and reflective depending on the subject matter. I will not of course use any restraint when from my vantage point the topics and subject matter are worthless and offensive.

    I have no intention of changing my posture and the nature of my posts on this site.. again please refrain from your personal venom and attacks against me and just attack my content..I hope you have the i/q to do that

  • 8

    The headline Prep School Hockey In Downtown Detroit is misleading, incorrect. The game is in a neighborhood of Detroit, away from Downtown,a neighborhood in Southwest Detroit.

  • 9

    Very nicely written piece but a bit more about Clark Park and why it was chosen as the location for this face-off would have added much to the piece.

    The real news here is how this Cranbrook student came to the attention of Time's Detroit Blog. This is a plum assignment that many a high school reporter would have loved to have landed.

  • 10

    TIME is still licking its wounds over it's major suicide of not naming ONE BLACKPERSON as a VIP of the city in its seminal commentary about its mission in the city..

    No doubt it made the same mistake by giving all the plum assigments to white teens in the suburbs...

    Given the margainal way it has handled its mission todate I think I am right on the money...Clearly Clarke Park is not downtown Detroit and the slef promotion slant instead of Clarke Park was also a nagging problem of this narrative..

  • 11

    What a great job of reporting on the "event". I'm pretty sure the social injustices and inequalities we ALL face every day was not the assignment. It is obvious that GT is upset that he /she didn't get an invitation to the game. Either did I. I enjoyed reading about it though. Makes me want to go to the next one. That is unless there is some protest or uprising that would prevent it from happening. That would be a a terrible injustice.

  • 12


    It is obvious you do not have a clue ....I did attend the game...The article was avergage at best nothing to write home about or stage a parade..

    But given TIME appeals to basic grade school reading skills not surpised by depth of content

  • 13

    I appologize. So what does ail you? A high school hockey game? The legacy of discrimination? The lack of money invested in your community, education, civil rights or the criminal justice system?

    Who is responsible for the attitude you carry around as billions, if not trillions, of dollars have been invested directly towards "minority" repairations. All I continue to hear are the grievances. Where is the gratitude?

    This has been the best country in history for anyone who has entered her shores, no matter how they got here. All Americans have reached the greatest level of freedom and prosperity ever known. Why? Because we are free to follow our dreams.

    So stop with the "you owe me" con and "you don't understand me" crap. Was it those "whitey" suburban kids who burned and looted the streets of Detroit in the 40's and 60's. It was the rioters themselves. Is "whitey" at fault for the 70%illegitimacy rate in the black community. It was the sex. Is "whitey" responsible for the 65% drop-out rate in the city of Detroit. It's the lack of family responsibility.

    A prayer you should consider using on a reular basis.


    I thank you for this day. I thank you for my being able to see, hear, smell and touch. I am blessed because You are a forgiving and understanding God. You have done so much for me and You keep on blessing me. Forgive me this day for everything I have done, said or thought that was not pleasing to You.

    Help me start this day with a new attitude and plenty of gratitude. Broaden my mind that I can accept all things. Let me not whine or whimper over things I have no control over. May I be a blessing to others. Keep me uplifted that I may have words of encouragement for others. I pray for those who are lost and can't find their way. I pray for those who are misjudged and misunderstood. I pray for those who do not know You.

    In the name of the One who gave His Life that we may live. Amen.

    • 13.1

      Well-said. Thank you from a community member who appreciates constructive, on-topic discussions . . .
      . . . enriched by personal observations, informed viewpoints, fact-driven opinions, first-hand experiences, fact-driven discourse and respectful disagreements.
      We're in this together. No need to hang separately when we can focus on commUNITY interests and goals we share.
      You keep us uplifted that we may have words of encouragement, 'kwham.'

  • 14


    Please spare me the GOD babble,...Your God means nothing to me.. I have zero tolerance for wholly rollers ..Jesus Freaks....Your tired right wing dogma also has zero influence on me..

    I do not owe you any graditude,.. Your post reflects pure ignorance about the legacy of truth and history in America..Your posts reflects how a loser your God is as well for allowing the legacy of racism and depravity in our nation caused by folks who say Amen on the most Sundays in our nation..

    Our nation's original illegal aliens and domestic terrorists were pilgrims and puritans and they were not people of color..It was not people of color who engaged in ethic cleansing and the ripped off trillions of dollars in wages and property rights from Blacks and American Indians in our was the slugs who prayed to your GOD

    For the record the most lethal aggregate group in our nation are not Black folks..White males lead the nation in domestic abuse crimes, serial killers, sex perverts, white collar crimes, incest, domestic terrorism , murders of our presidents and civil rigts leaders, porn operators on the internet, war crimes In Iraq, all manner of crimes against seniors ...Again the same people who say Amen to your God were these slugs and criminals..

    Please do not ever lecture to me about criminals and what they look like in our nation clearly they do not look like me..

    Black folks could committ crimes for 24 hours a day for a century and still not measure up to the inhumanity of whites against Blacks and other people of color in our nation..

    In my public lecture I often start with the construct of BIG BEN Clock for 23 hours and 45 minutes white folks have fucked up our nation from slavery, segregation, separate but equal, jim crow laws, profiling, lynching, castration, disparate treatment and forced civil rights laws just to be civil to Black americans ..I have 15 minutes to fix the cluster fuck white folks have created in our nation as the majority ..My time is running out..tic, toc, tic, either help or get the fuck out of my way..

    Tell your God to get lost I pray to one but me..Amen to that!!!!!

  • 15

    This is a very interesting discussion. I respect and empathize with what seem to be two poles of discussion here. And I dare say, this is basically a microcosm of the sad and tortured state of Detroit politics...
    I mostly agree with kwham, but he/she might want to check out books like Thomas Sugrue's Origins of the Urban Crisis, a twentieth-century history of Detroit. It shows the insidious nature of white racism in building a segregated, unequal Detroit. Also, you can't for a second say that a kid born into the Detroit Public Schools has been given a fair shake. It's naive to think otherwise.
    Gthrasher, I can empathize with the anger or at least the eye-rolling of another story of white-do-gooder suburbanites. But you claim the problem is that the suburbs have ignored the city's challenges for too long. Yet here is an effort to change all that. And your response is to say, "screw you, your help isn't wanted." I'm wondering what you would really say to these kids and these schools. Should they have played the game in the surburbs? Was their impulse to build bridges between city and suburb so offensive to you? Their charity dollars so dirty you wouldn't accept them?

    And do anyone listening and reading, the only way to fix this broke metro area is to build bonds between city and suburbs. These kids, privileged and naive, had an experience that may lead into more, to build a different Detroit then the one characterized by polarization and divides. This project ain't perfect, but geez, I think we're better for it than not having it!

  • 16

    I think so too -- and appreciate your balanced, clear-eyed, constructive perspective.

  • 17


    Do you know what the anecdote is for fear is? Most think it is faith (yes, even in yourself). In reality, perfect love is what drives out all fear. In love we can find security, peace, refuge, provision and joy. Love has no boundries or prejudices.

    With my God, there is nothing I can do to make Him love me any more, and ther is nothing I can do to make Him love me any less. HIS love never changes. But I can. So can you.

  • 18


    Sometimes I wonder, 'What did I do to deserve this?' or 'Why did God do this to me?'

    Then I think about this story about cake.

    A daughter is telling her mother how everything is going wrong. She's failing algebra, her boyfriend broke up with her and her best friend is moving away (you can insert any injustice in your life here).

    Meanwhile her Mom is making a cake and asks her daughter if she would like a snack, and the daughter says, 'absolutely Mom, I love your cake." 'Here, have some cooking oil,' her mother offers. 'Yuck' says the daughter. 'How about a couple of raw eggs?' 'Gross mom!' 'Would you like some flour then? or maybe baking soda?'

    'Mom, those are real yucky!' To which the mother replies: 'Yes, all those things seem bad all by themselves. But when they are put together in the right way, they make a wonderfully delicious cake!'

    God works the same way. Many times we wonder why He would let us go through such bad and difficult times. But God knows that when He puts these things all in HIS order, they always work for good! We just have to trust Him and, eventually, they will all make something wonderful!

    God is crazy about you. He sends you flowers every Spring and a sunrise every morning. Whenever you want to talk, He'll listen. He can live anywhere in the Universe. He chooses to live in our hearts, if you'll let Him.

    My God is a God of love, understanding and abundance. The God you describe does not exist in me.

    Life may not be what you want it to be, but while you are here, you might as well do everything you can to rejoice in it.

    • 18.1

      Amen. Even this non-observant reader is moved by your words and faith.
      Thank you for sharing them and uplifting this forum . . . and particularly this thread.

  • 19

    [...] since we all love Detroit hockey , I want all my fellow NFL Lions fans to check out detroit.blogs.time and tell me what you think about[...]

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