OXFORD, MI – Dean Couwlier is happy he chose to return to the Oxford High School hockey team for his senior season.
He actually started out this year playing for the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies Midget Major AAA team, but in the end, went with his heart and his gut.
“To be honest, I missed the kids from Oxford,” said Couwlier, a senior defenseman. “We're a bunch of brothers and it's hard to get away from that. Our coaches actually care about your future and that’s a great thing.”
Couwlier played his sophomore and junior seasons in a Wildcats’ sweater and then was torn this past offseason. Oxford had just come off its first OAA White division championship and like the old adage goes, team success breeds individual success.
“This program (Oxford) is not like the others,” beamed Couwlier. “We all support each other as teammates and we have coaches that do everything they can to develop us into the best players and most importantly, the best men we can be.”
Oxford head coach Dave Hague kept in close contact with Couwlier during his decision-making process and was happy for him when he decided that Oxford was best.
“Dean is a great player and has improved tremendously in his time here,” said Hague. “He’s a very likeable kid and very coachable. I’ve already had some calls about him from North American Hockey League teams and I can see him making the jump next season. It’ll be fun seeing how far Dean can take hockey.”
The Wildcats’ alumni list has grown every season and Couwlier wants his name on the list next fall.
“Seeing my buddies move up shows me that the opportunities are there,” said Couwlier. “I want to push myself to reach the highest level of hockey possible.”
A team-first player, Couwlier has an idea of where he wants the Wildcats to be come March.
“Being 1-1-1 in the league (OAA Red) and 10-2-1 overall at this point, there is no doubt that if we give everything we've got that we can work our way to another league championship,” Couwlier said. “Hopefully, we can be the first team in school history to get to the hockey state playoffs, too.
“We have the talent and the dedication and it’s up to us to get the job done.”
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Two brothers that played for Oxford, Blaine and Tim Marney, both play for the ACHA Division II team at Grand Valley State University.
Blaine, a forward, played for the Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks in the NA3HL last year and is in his first year at GVSU. Tim, also a forward, played for GVSU the past two seasons and was part of the Lakers’ ACHA Division II national championship squad in 2010-11.
For more information on the Oxford Varsity Hockey program, please visit www.oxfordhockey.com.