TRAVERSE CITY — On Friday, John Posler is one step closer to a dream.
The former Bay Reps goaltender will play a Junior A hockey game in his home town when the Midwest Junior Hockey League’s Soo Firehawks and Hartland Hounds square off in an exhibition game at Centre ICE.
“That’s the most exciting thing — coming here and finding out I get to play in front of my home fans,” the Firehawks goalie said. “That was my dream when I moved to Traverse City was to play for the North Stars and play in front of my friends. Now it’s actually going to get to come true. It’s pretty exciting.”
He was recently traded to Sault Ste. Marie and made his Firehawks debut with a 6-2 victory over the Rhinelander Street Cats in which he made 47 saves. That performance earned Posler his third MWJHL Goalie of the Week honor.
“I’m feeling pretty good going into this game,” Posler said. “I’ve got a lot of confidence from that.”
Game time is 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $5. Grand Traverse Hockey Association players who wear their jersey get into the game for free.
“We want to showcase the league and generate some interest,” said Hounds co-owner Scott Gardiner, who tried to start up a Traverse City team in the league last year. “We really want to give Traverse City another shot next year.”
The contest features five Traverse City natives returning home.
Alex Grizzel, Tyler Thirlby, Scott Luca and Cam Fisher play for Hartland, and Posler for the Soo.
Fisher is eighth in the league in scoring with 33 goals and 31 assists in 33 games. Thirlby and Grizzel each have 33 points — in 21 games for Grizzel and 38 for Thirlby — and Luca has 19 points in only 16 games, which puts him at 16th in scoring among the league’s defensemen. Posler has a .910 save percentage, which is second in the MWJHL.