TRAVERSE CITY — Andrew Froese, junior defenseman for Traverse City Central, was honored as a member of the Michigan Dream Team for the 2014-15 hockey season.
The award, given out by the Michigan High School Hockey Coaches’ Association, includes just six players statewide each season, and Froese is the first Trojan to be named to the team since forward Alex Redman in 2006. Froese had already been named a Division 2 All-State selection this year.
"I didn't really have too many words," Froese said. "It was a huge accomplishment for me, just being All-State even, was a great honor. Finding out I was on the dream team — I never would have expected it."
Froese was a key part of Traverse City Central's run to the state quarterfinals, falling short of a trip to Plymouth and the semifinals in a 7-3 loss to Escanaba. As a sophomore, in 2013-14, Froese scored 13 points (six goals, seven assists). He nearly quadrupled that total this year with 45 points (19 goals, 26 assists), second most on the team.
"He was a guy that we counted on in all the critical situations," Traverse City Central head coach Chris Givens said. "(Coach) Scott Harvey would use Andrew to matchup with the other teams' best forwards. He did a lot of penalty killing. He was a team captain. We knew he had the ability to do some scoring, but (45 points) is the most scoring from a defenseman in my time here. To have a guy on the back end contribute that many points was phenomenal.
"When (Froese) called, it was great news. He was excited and I was certainly excited for him. It is our first dream teamer in the last nine years. It doesn't happen very often."
Froese credited his sharp increase in production to his teammates and his realization a role had to be filled on the team.
"It was me stepping up and knowing there was a big role that needed to be played this year," Froese said. "I thought I could do that. Over the summer, I was preparing. Obviously that worked out for me pretty well. It was also a lot of my teammates helping me out. It wasn't just me.
"That is something I will remember the rest of my life. All I can say is I am grateful for it."
Froese believes with his senior year remaining, the Trojans will be equally talented, or better, next season. It won't be easy, as Froese is the team's top-scoring returner, and the Trojans lose their other top-five scorers to graduation.
"I think that loss to Escanaba was pretty tough," Froese said. "It was a good learning experience. I think for me coming back next year will be a pretty big role. I think with the guys coming in and guys we have still, I think we can do just as well if not better."
Cranbrook Kingswood's forward Austin Alger, who was also awarded Michigan's Mr. Hockey award, was selected to the team. Escanaba's Levi Wunder and Rochester United's Marshall Bowery were the other two forwards. Brandon Young, of Reeths-Puffer, was the other defenseman, alongside Froese. Livonia Stevenson's Culler Barber was selected as the goaltender.