Jr. Griffins win international hockey title

Adam Brayton celebrates a game-winning goal during the semifinals.

Adam Brayton celebrates a game-winning goal during the semifinals.

Three Rockford boys help team to win


The 51st annual International Silver Stick Tournament in Sarnia, Ontario, ended recently with a dramatic 3-2 overtime victory for the Grand Rapids Junior Griffins over the Valley East Rebels, the number-one-ranked team in Ontario Atom AA Hockey.

The Junior Griffins, made up of 10- and 11-year-olds throughout the greater Grand Rapids area, began this journey by winning the Midland Regional Silver Stick Tournament on December 20. That victory earned them an invitation to compete in the International Silver Stick Final, where 16 teams from throughout North America compete for the title.

In the preliminary round, the Junior Griffins defeated the Nashville Junior Predators and Dallas Penguins, losing one game to the Mississauga North Stars. Their record and goal differential had them seeded third where the top four teams advanced to the semifinals.

Brandon Schwandt’s aggressive play is critical to the Junior Griffins’ success.

Brandon Schwandt’s aggressive play is critical to the Junior Griffins’ success.

Once again they were matched up against Mississauga, but this time the results were different. Will Kortz of Grand Rapids opened up the scoring for the Junior Griffins in the first period with a beautiful wrap-around goal. Shortly thereafter, Mississauga tied the game.

The score was 1-1 until midway through the third period when the Junior Griffins’ Adam Brayton of Rockford drove home a rebound to make it 2-1. Brad Baysore of Grand Rapids continued the scoring for the Junior Griffins by rifling home a shot from the left face-off circle, making it a 3-1 game. Reed Lebster of Cascade finished it off, scoring with one second left in the game to lift the Junior Griffins to a 4-1 victory that put them into the championship game.

The finals matched the Junior Griffins up against the two-time defending champion Valley East Rebels from Northern Ontario. Just 16 seconds in, the Rebels scored and the mood throughout the arena was that the Rebels were on their way to another title.

Three minutes later, the Rebels made it 2-0 and things were looking bleak for the Junior Griffins. That changed late in the first period when Lebster fired home a shot from just over the blue line for the Junior Griffins’ first goal.

Nate Jones anchors a strong defensive group.

Nate Jones anchors a strong defensive group.

In the second period, Kortz maneuvered around two Valley East defenders and buried a shot over the goalie’s glove to tie the score, and the momentum shifted back in favor of the Junior Griffins. The third period ended in a 2-2 tie with the Junior Griffins, shutting down the Rebels with a strong defensive effort led by Nate Jones of Rockford and aggressive back-checking by Brandon Schwandt of Rockford.

A five-minute, sudden-death overtime followed, this time with only three skaters and their goalie. The overtime period started with the Junior Griffins on the Rebels’ heels, fighting off several offensive opportunities by Valley East. About two minutes in, Junior Griffins goalie Keegan Stenstrom of Caledonia made an incredible diving save that rebounded over to Kortz. Kortz saw Cole Stenstrom of Caledonia, and hit him with the outlet pass, where he fought off a Valley East defender most of the way down the ice. With 2:51 left in overtime, Stenstrom found the back of the net for the Junior Griffins to win the International Silver Stick Atom AA title, 3-2.

In addition to the championship, the Junior Griffins were awarded the Bob LeClair Memorial Trophy. This trophy is given to the team that that displays the honorable qualities of good discipline, attitude, ability and conduct, as well as all-around good sportsmanship throughout the Silver Stick Finals Tournament. The team is coached by Jeff Thiessen.

“This just goes to show the kids that there is nothing they can’t accomplish when they work hard and put forth their best effort,” commented Thiessen. “They not only earned it; they deserve it!”

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Sparta’s Jake Plite receives nomination to play at 2010 McDonald’s All American High School Basketball games

With his nomination to the McDonald’s All American High School Boys Basketball Team, Jake Plite of Sparta High School is being recognized as one of the top prep standouts in the nation, becoming one of just a select number of male players nominated for the honor in Michigan.

Plite is among just more than 2,100 nominees competing nationwide to fill one of 24 positions on the Boys Team, and play for the honor of raising proceeds for Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) of Central Ohio. The final team roster will be announced on ESPNU on February 11 at 5:30 p.m. ET.

Plite was nominated by the McDonald’s All American Basketball Team Boys Selection Committee, a group of 32 prominent basketball experts, including nationally renowned coaches and top high school sports journalists.

The 33rd annual Boys Game will tip off at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday, March 31, at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio, and will air live on ESPN. The Girls Game will precede the Boys Game at 5:30 p.m. ET and will broadcast live on ESPNU.

Proceeds from ticket sales of both games will benefit RMHC of Central Ohio. To date, millions of dollars have been donated to RMHC chapters from proceeds generated at the McDonald’s All American Games. RMHC’s core three programs include the Ronald McDonald House, Ronald McDonald Family Room and the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile—extending the reach of the charity to directly improve the health and well-being of children around the world.

Since 1977, more than 750 male players have competed in the McDonald’s All American Games, forming an elite list that reads like a “who’s who” in basketball history. McDonald’s All American athletes include basketball greats Alonzo Mourning, Magic Johnson, Kevin Garnett, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant.

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Rockford swim/dive repeats history

Rockford senior

Rockford senior Kevin Bors competes in the 200-yard freestyle relay. Photo by GORDON PETERSON

Score: Rockford 193, Grand Haven 115

After defeating Grand Haven by more than 60 points in a non-conference meet before the holidays, the Rams saw history repeat itself on January 28 as they once again overwhelmed the Buccaneers, 193-115.

From the first event to the last, Rockford out-swam Grand Haven.

A prime example came in the 200-yard IM when Bryan Wasberg (2:03.93), Derik Bothma (2:09.35), Trenten Babcock (2:09.36) and Jeff Schmitt (2:09.52) placed first, second, third and fourth, respectively.

Another example was the 500-yard freestyle in which Schmitt (5:16.62, a personal best), Brian Ginebaugh (5:18.75), and Nick Willison (5:20.08) placed first, second and third.

“Now our sites are set on the West Ottawa meet,” said senior Andrew Denhof.

Don’t miss the Thursday, Feb. 4 meet, as Rockford and West Ottawa will swim/dive in an anticipated close meet.

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Classifieds — February 4, 2010


Mixed hardwood. All-nighters, extra long, or the way you want it. Excellent burning. $60 a face cord, delivered. (616) 773-4549.      p05cp


Antique-desk-001REDUCED! Antique Victorian desk, 5 ft. tall, 4-1/2 ft. wide and 2-1/2 ft. deep, $675. Call (616) 866-1478 and leave a message.      ftfn






Guitar Lessons—Learn guitar the RIGHT way and enjoy it for a lifetime. Lessons also on banjo, fiddle, mandolin, Dobro, etc. Call Joe (616) 874-8582.     btfn


Caregiver with 10 years of experience, perfect work history and proper credentials is looking for a client to provide care 2 to 3 days weekly. Call for interview, (231) 250-1438.      p05cp


Tax Preparation! Quick and Accurate! Fixed rates—$55 single filers, $120 joint. Includes federal and state e-file. Call Financial Visions, LLC. (616) 863-9760.      p05

Dump truck for hire to pick up and deliver bulk materials, large items, etc. We clean attics, job sites, yards, etc. Clean, modern truck. Courteous, professional personnel. Daily rates available. References upon request. (616) 890-2515 between 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.      p06


I’ll design your flier, brochure, business card for a low rate! Other graphic design also available. Over 18 years experience. Professional design guaranteed. Flier design starting at $30. References available. Call Melanie Ragsdale at (616) 889-9082 or view design samples online at ragsdaledesign.com.      ftfn


FOUND—one set of keys, found on Thursday, January 21 in front of Young Insurance (downtown Rockford). Call (734) 675-2030 or e-mail eaerber@gmail.com to describe and claim.      ftfn

CL-found-dollFOUND—much loved baby doll left at Rudy Kazoody’s before Christmas. She wants her mommy! (616) 433-9361.      ftfn



FOUND—very friendly male cat with black and tan markings, white paws, red collar with bell. Found on Byrne Industrial Dr. on Monday, January 4. Call Wee Folk, (616) 866-4740.      ftfn

FOUND—tame white rabbit with brown spots. Found on Maple and Fremont in downtown Rockford. Call to identify, (616) 862-5313.      ftfn


LOST—Burton Blunt snowboard near 13 Mile and 14 Mile roads in Rockford. Lost on Sunday, December 20 off the back end of a truck. (616) 889-9931.      ftfn

LOST—blue Olympus digital camera at the Rockford Freshman Center, December 18. Family pictures on camera, reward. (616) 874-1150.      ftfn

FOUND—gray cat, one year old or younger. Yellow eyes. Found in Oak Street/Jericho area. (616) 863-8460.      ftfn

FOUND—six-month-old black male kitten with white spot on chest. Found on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009, Courtland/Pearl area. (616) 915-3028.      ftfn

FOUND—young, gray, long-hair cat, found around 11 Mile and Young area. (616) 874-8284.      ftfn


FOUND—Did your child lose money while trick-or-treating? Call and identify amount and approximate location. (616) 866-6565.      ftfn


FOUND—tripod found by the Rockford dam Sunday, November 1, late afternoon. Call and identify. (616) 240-1175.      ftfn


LOST—domestic short-hair cat, dark smoky gray, 8 years old. Very friendly. Answers to the name of “Smokey.” Last seen on 14 Mile, between Wabasis and Heintzelman. (616) 843-1020.      ftfn


LOST—two teenagers’ purses in downtown Rockford pavilion on Sunday, October 11. Call (616) 874-2632 or (616) 970-2632.      ftfn


LOST—cat, orange and white tiger, striped front paws, declawed. Last seen at Wolven and 11 Mile Rd. Call (616) 863-8278.      ftfn


LOST—orange cat with white paws and white chest. Lost by Peachtree and Natchez Court. Comes to the name of “Ginger.” Reward. Call (616) 826-9785 or (616) 884-0068.      ftfn


FOUND—yellow Lab/Siberian husky mix at Thunder Hawk resort in Pierson on Sunday, June 21. Call to identify, (616) 788-9725.      ftfn

LOST—missing since May 1, 2009. Blonde and white mixed Lab, comes to the name “Zoey.” If found, please call (616) 863-0546, or take her to the Kent County animal shelter. Please return her!      ftfn

LOST—11-year-old black-and-white male cat. Declawed, right ear misshapen. Last seen on Hessler Dr. in Rockford on Friday, Feb. 20. Call (616) 874-1702, leave a message.      ftfn


LOST—small Siamese female cat, seal point, spayed. Lost west of river in Rockford near Jericho and Cahill. $50 reward! Call (616) 866-1021.     ftfn


Free kittens—playful indoor kittens, three girls, two boys. Litter-trained, free to indoor homes. (616) 866-8633.      ftfn

Free—one calico cat, 2 to 3 years old, indoor/outdoor, plays well with kids. (616) 696-9225.      ftfn

The Rockford Squire’s “Free” and “Lost & Found” classified ads are free of charge. Call (616) 866-4465 by noon on Monday to place your ad in next Thursday’s issue.

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School Beat — February 4, 2010

How important is play and recess for your student?

Principal, Roguewood Elementary School

With increased pressure from the federal and state government to improve achievement, increase test scores, and cover an increasingly demanding curriculum, we should never lose sight of the importance of play and recess for our children. Our playgrounds are also classrooms, and recess at school serves an important role in the social, emotional, physical and cognitive development of our students.

Social development begins at birth and continues rapidly throughout the early childhood years. Recess is that period of time during the school day that allows children the opportunity to interact with peers in ways not usually possible in the typical classroom. A wide range of social competencies such as cooperation, sharing, language, and conflict resolution can be actively practiced, interpreted and learned in a meaningful context during recess.

Recess acts as an outlet for reducing anxiety, too. During recess, children have the opportunity to express themselves to others, and begin rehearsing behaviors and practicing skills. Children learn about their own abilities, perseverance, self-direction, responsibility and self-acceptance. They begin to understand which behaviors result in approval or disapproval from their peers.

Recess also provides our students with opportunities to move and participate in physical activities. In October 1999, the Agriculture Department released a report that revealed a record 10 million American children—or one in five—are overweight, and that a record eight percent of the children are already overweight by preschool age. Through active play on the playground, our students learn about their bodies’ capabilities and how to control their bodies. One of the most apparent benefits of recess is the opportunity for sheer physical activity and the practice of physical skills, such as running, climbing, jumping, chasing, batting, kicking, catching, balancing, hanging, swinging, stretching, pushing and pulling.

Additionally, physical activity fuels the brain with a better supply of blood and provides brain cells with a healthier supply of natural substances. These substances enhance brain growth and help the brain make a greater number of connections between neurons (Healy, 1998). The connections make the brain better able to process a variety of information, thus leading to improved retention of facts, a greater understanding of concepts, and subsequently higher achievement.

There are volumes of recent research substantiating the link between play and cognitive gains. Children learn through play. Children develop intellectual constructs and cognitive understandings through the hands-on, manipulative, exploratory behavior that occurs during play episodes and play opportunities. “Children can remember more, focus better, and regulate their own behavior better in play than in any other context,” (Guddemi et al., p. 5). After children practice skills in play, they become ready to utilize these skills in other contexts (Bodrova & Leong, 1999).

With winter here in full force, our children may not feel as free to run outside like in the summer, but don’t let that stop them! It is important to help facilitate play even in these winter months—go get cold, wet and freezing! A warm cup of hot chocolate is always a welcomed reward.

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