The following “Southwest Standard” SMS Student Newspaper article by Reporter, Justin Brase ran in the January 28, 2005 edition and is reprinted on the SMS Bears Hockey Club Website with permission from the Southwest Standard and Reporter, Justin Brase.
Odenwald Sticks With Ice Hockey, Excels as Team
Leader for Bears
If not for a member of his family, Dan Odenwald might have been spending his time on the diamond, instead of the rink.
“Before I was playing hockey, I played baseball for two or three teams in the summer,” Odenwald said. “Once hockey carried over to the summer, I chose hockey because I enjoyed it more.”
But baseball may have been the only sport Odenwald played if his parent’s hadn’t have been coaxed into hockey.
The Webster Grove’s native said his parents received some advice.
“My parent’s wouldn’t let me play but my grandpa talked them into it and helped me out convincing them,” Odenwald said.
With his brother and him in the house lacing up their skates, it almost created a financial burden.
“The money situation was too much because my little brother played and (my parents) couldn’t afford two players,” Odenwald said.
As the Bears gear up for their 30th game, Odenwald, a forward, is in the top five on the team in total points for the season.
The special education major has scored 14 goals and has seven assists for 21 total points in only 22 games played.
Head Coach Benjamin Alexander said Odenwald is a special player.
“He’s (Odenwald) quite a player,” Alexander said. “He’s one of the guys that will give his entire body to go down in the corner and block a shot, and then take a guy out with a clean hit.”
“There are very few people who love the game more than Dan because he plays at the highest level, and as a sophomore, he helps the juniors and freshman to have fun and execute the game plan. That makes him an asset that’s rubbing off on other players.”
Even though the forward was persuaded into the role of a leader on his team, he relishes his responsibility.
“Last year, I was pushed into the leader’s role, but I like being the person saying, ‘Hey, this is what we need to do.’ I like that aspect of being a leader,” Odenwald said.
According to Odenwald, while his skills may not have improved from last season, he is mentally seeing the ice better and his communication skills have gotten better.
Odenwald, who is nicknamed “O.D.” said the fast pace of the game is what enticed him.
“It’s so fascinating,” Odenwald said. “You can’t go anywhere else and pick up hockey, really, because you have to play it on ice. It’s such a fast moving sport, and I love doing things at a fast pace.”
The forward says he facets his game after a former St. Louis Blues player nicknamed “The Rat”.
“Scott Mellanby is my type of player,” Odenwald said. “He doesn’t have all the skills, but he’s a hard worker and does what he needs to do to get the job done.”
But there’s a good chance the SMS player won’t get to see his favorite player lace up this season.
As the National Hockey League (NHL) lockout enters its 134th day, Odenwald said he doesn’t see a 2004-05 season being played.
“It’s not gonna happen this year,” Odenwald said. “If it doesn’t come back this year, it’s not going to come back, or at least it won’t be as big and it was. But I hope they do come back.”
According to the sophomore, as he looks toward his future, playing professionally would certainly entice him, but the highest level he could see himself playing would be with a team such as the Missouri River Otters of the United Hockey League, a few levels below the NHL.
Odenwald said he is focused right now on earning his degree
The next opponent for the Ice Bears is the University of Missouri Jan. 29-30 when they will play two games at the Washington Park Ice Rink in Jefferson City, Mo.
Jordan Valley Ice Park Drops the Puck on the Jr.
Bears House Hockey League in 04/05
The Ice Park initiated the Jr. Bears House Hockey League with the support of the SMS Ice Bears to give more Springfield area kids an opportunity to play and compete in youth hockey. The program is designed to instruct basic hockey skills during practices and games.
The Jr. Bears House Hockey League will offer games between teams that are members of the league and all games will be played at the Jordan Valley Ice Park with no team travel. The League is designed to broaden the opportunities for youth hockey and increase interest in the still relatively new ice sports available in Springfield. It also gives players an opportunity to move into the Springfield Youth Hockey Association (SYHA) "Jr. Spirit" teams based at Jordan Valley Ice Park.
"We are pleased to be involved in supporting the JVIP Jr. Bears House Hockey League and we will plan to do whatever our team can do to create more interest and opportunities for young people in Springfield to play hockey," said SMS Ice Bears Head Coach Benjamin Alexander. "We look forward to the ongoing growth of the Jr. Bears program along with the SYHA "Jr. Spirit" program to allow Springfield youth to play competitive hockey at a variety of levels."
The SMS Ice Bears coaches and team members are serving as instructors and advisors to the coaches and players in the JVIP Jr. Bears House Hockey League.
Participation in the League is open to young people 18 and under for a fee of $125 for the 10-week program. Hockey equipment rental packages, including special first-time player rates, are available at the JVIP Pro Shop. Registration forms are available at the Jordan Valley Ice Park.
Volunteer coaches are being sought. For more information about the JVIP Jr. Bears House Hockey League, contact Al Valdivia, JVIP Dir.of Hockey Operations, 866-7444; Ext. 234.
Ice Bears Win Two of Six Games in January... Both
Wins at Home
Bears Forward Eric Dalton netted three goals for a hat trick in the Friday night 10-0 win. Sophomore Joel Livingston added two goals and an assist with Andy Hellwig, Dan Odenwald, Andy Werkmeister, Kent Adams and Bobby Saitta each adding goals. Bears Sophomore Defenseman John Timmerberg provided three assists in the victory on goals scored by Adams, Livingston and Dalton. Bears Goaltender Michael Brown shut out the Bills on 17 Bills shots. Scoring in the game saw the Bears go up 1-0 in the first period, add 4 goals in the second and finish strong with 5 goals in the third period in front of over 600 Bears fans filling the main grandstands to capacity and standing room.
A Saturday night 8-0 Bears win over the Bills was highlighted by another SMS Hat Trick performance and a total capacity crowd of close to 1,000 Bears fans. The largest Bears hockey crowd so far this season filled the main grandstand and all the ice level bleachers and standing room in all areas around the rink on Rotary Clubs night and Republic Schools night at the Bears game. SMS Forward Dan Odenwald put three goals past the Bills netminder to gain a hat trick in the game. The Bears scored 3 in the first period with Eric Dalton adding a Bears goal to two Odenwald goals, 2 in the second period with Andy Werkmeister and Odenwald scoring and 3 in the third period as Bobby Saitta, Andy Hellwig and Tim Fitzgerald finished out the scoring for the Bears. Defenseman John Timmerberg added two more assists in the winning effort on Odenwald and Fitzgerald goals. Bears Goaltenders Kevin Rekowski and Dan Brueggemann combined duties to shut down 14 Bills shots on goal for the shutout.
The road in January was not very pleasant for the Ice Bears as the Palmer College Dragons took two games from the Bears on Friday, January 14th and Saturday, January 15th at the Quad Cities Sports Center in Davenport, Iowa. It was the first ever meeting between the two Mid-America Collegiate Hockey Association league rivals.
The Friday night game saw Bears Defenseman Jake Mowry and Forward Bobby Saitta find the back of the net in the first period for a 2-1 Bears lead over the Dragons. Dan Odenwald notched a goal in the second period for SMS as the Dragons went by SMS with 3 goals and took a 4-3 lead going to the final period. The Bears tied the game on a sizzling hot Joel Livingston slapshot from the blue line early in the third period. Palmer took a 5-4 lead and SMS Freshman Forward Josh Conlin lit up the net to tie the game again.
The game finished with Palmer taking a 6-5 lead with 7:06 remaining and getting a 7-5 victory after Bears goaltender Michael Brown was pulled from the net for a 6 man attack with a minute left and the Dragons got an empty net goal ten seconds later.
Saturday night at the Quad Cities Sports Center was not the Bears night as the Dragons came out with 2 goals in each of the first two periods and shut down the Bears scoring to take a 4-0 lead into the final period. The Bears kicked up their game in the third period as a new Bears team member, Forward Adam Crnko scored his first goal as a Bear just 30 seconds into the period. The Dragons came back with a goal at the 3 minutes left mark and the final score stood at 5-1 in favor of the Dragons.
The end of January found the Bears on the road to the State Capitol Building in Jefferson City, Missouri and to the Washington Park Ice Arena in Jefferson City to face the Missouri University Tigers in a Saturday, 8pm game and a Sunday noon game on January 29th and 30th. The Tigers carried a 15-7 record into the games and stood 12-0 in leading the MACHA League Silver Division. The Tigers gained a hard fought 5-4 win over the Bears on Saturday night and came back Sunday at noon to notch a 7-2 victory over SMS in what has become a strong in-state rivalry between the two teams.
The Bears Jefferson City trip included a team meal at the Missouri State Capitol Building and a tour of the Capitol Building including visits and team photos inside the chambers of the Missouri House of Representatives and the Missouri Senate. The Bears team would like to thank State Senator Larry Taylor of Shell Knob, Missouri and the 29th Senatorial District and his assistant in Jefferson City, Janet Ritter for their coordination of the tour and exceptional hospitality.
SMS gave the Missouri Tigers a major scare in the final period of the Saturday night loss netting 3 goals in one of the best Bears periods of the season falling two “off the post” shots short of sending the game to overtime. Mizzou built a 5-1 lead through the first two periods getting a 1-0 first period lead in front of a near full house crowd of over 400 fans in the Washington Park Ice Arena. SMS veteran Junior Forward Andy Hellwig found the net in the second period to post the first Bears goal of the game.
The Bears brought out the SMS firepower in the third period with Hellwig notching his and the Bears second goal early in the period. Forward Eric Dalton and veteran Junior Andy Werkmeister added goals in a third period that saw SMS spend most of the period pounding MU goaltender Tim Fandry in the SMS offensive zone. Dan Odenwald and Jon Baeten added two assists each in the SMS scoring column. SMS Head Coach Benjamin Alexander gave goalie Michael Brown the “go to the bench” signal with 50 seconds left in the period and the six man Bears attack fired away with MU Goalie Fandry stopping the Bears to gain the MU victory.
The Sunday game in Jefferson City started with a hard fought first period that ended tied 1-1 on the strength of a brilliant “thread the needle pass” from Junior Forward Kent Adams to Bears Forward Tim Fitzgerald giving him a breakaway and a goal faking out MU Goalie Tim Fandry and scoring one minute after MU had notched the lead goal at the 15 minutes into the period mark. The Tigers came out strong in the second period and shut out the Bears 3-0 taking a 4-1 lead into the final period. Bears Forward Andy Hellwig got the Bears second and last goal as Mizzou added another 3 goal performance in the period gaining a 7-2 win over SMS in front of 225 fans including a large contingent of SMS fans.
SMS finished the January games with an overall record of 11-20 going into the final four games of the Ice Bears season. In February, the Bears finish their season hitting the road to East Alton, Illinois and the East Alton Ice Arena to face the MACHA League - Gold Division leading Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville Cougars in two games with the opening faceoffs at 7pm on Friday and Saturday nights, February 4th and 5th. The Cougars also feature the MACHA league top scorer, SIU-E Forward Sean Walls. The Bears return home to Jordan Valley Ice Park for their final two 04/05 season games taking on the University of Illinois Fighting Illini in Friday and Saturday night 7pm games on February 11th and 12th.
Tickets are on sale through SMS Tix for the 2/11 and 2/12 games and the Ice Bears will also be selling discount 2/12 game tickets for $3.00 at the Ice Bears booth at the Sertoma Clubs Chili Cook-Off event from 10am to 4pm at the Springfield Expo / Convention Center on February 12th.