Traverse City Record-Eagle

Sports

June 28, 2013

Two area athletes take to ice in New York

BUFFALO, N.Y. — It’s not exactly the time of year when hockey is probably on your mind.

The Stanley Cup is over, Detroit’s development camp is weeks away and most hockey players are busy playing golf.

But not Marcus Russell and Brandon Halvorsen.

The two Traverse City natives are in Buffalo, N.Y., ready to begin today in a string of five straight days of practice in the morning and scrimmages later in the day at the Select 17 Festival in order to try to make the United States’ Five Nation team that will compete in Europe later this summer.

“It’s a pretty big deal,” Russell said. “It’s my first time. This has been going for about four years, but it’s my first.”

Russell played this year for Honeybaked, which placed third in nationals, losing in overtime to the St. Louis Junior Blues. He had a goal and four assists in five games.

The Select Festival splits some of the country’s top 1996 birth year players into 10 teams. Russell plays for Columbia in the American division, while Halvorsen is on Red in National section.

Those two teams play against each other July 1 at 1 p.m.

“It’s going to be different,” Russell said. “You’re going to be on teams with ... just random kids. You really don’t know who you’re going to be playing with. It’s going to be a different experience, for sure.”

The pair traveled together to Buffalo and will stay at the University of Buffalo while there, but the two seniors-to-be haven’t played on the same team since Pee Wee hockey four years ago.

For next season, Russell said he has a tryout in August for a Junior team, and also may return to Honeybaked.

Halvorsen, meanwhile is recovering from a broken toe sustained when a weight was dropped on his foot during a workout.

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