South Lyon Unified already is a championship hockey team. SLU boosters now have something else to boast about.
The Unified team, which consists of players from both South Lyon and South Lyon East high schools, has a magnificent new locker room at its home rink. The renovated facility at the Kensington Valley Ice House, completed just in time for the 2018-19 season, is proving the envy of opposing teams.
"It's cool to see other schools talk about it," said senior forward Brian Plohetski, one of South Lyon Unified's two teams captains. "I have friends that go to Brighton and CC (Catholic Central) and they've been talking about it and how cool it is. "It's really cool to see everything come together. All the fund raising. The boys doing some work and all the donations and help we got from parents and sponsors and stuff like that.
"It's sweet. It's awesome. The old one was like cages inside there," he said. "Now we have a place that we look forward to coming to and spend some time with the boys."
Bill McCreary, in his 11th season as head coach, indicated the renovation is a much-needed upgrade for his defending Lakes Valley Conference championship squad. "It was something that was due," said McCreary. "It's been a great locker room, but everything that was in there had been there for 10 years or so, so it was time to freshen it up. "The stalls are much nicer and roomier, and they updated everything," he said. "The lighting system is great, the sound system is great and it's a nice spot for the kids. It's been great."
MOTIVATED PARENTS TAKE CHARGE
The process started last winter when members of the South Lyon Unified Hockey Boosters Club made a pitch to renovate the team's locker room which was outdated. Space was cramped and the old room lacked necessary amenities. Led by the core trio of Mike Joseph, Scott Lowen and Darin Dudek, and with help from other motivated parents, the decision was made to proceed with the ambitious endeavor. The $50,000 project, most of which was covered by corporate donations, was finally completed in late October. Team members and parents basically gutted the old locker room and Carlos Munoz, from X-treme Steam, aided in the clean up. Dudek, owner of Brown Dog Manufacturing and whose son Dominic is a sophomore forward on the team, stepped up to design, manufacture and install the new wood lockers. The renovation included a new-layout with new lockers, new heavy duty rubber flooring displaying the new team logo, new tile in the improved shower area, a new commercial dehumidifier and a new coat of paint. Perhaps the most spectacular feature is the LED lighting system which accentuates an outstanding locker room atmosphere.The outside area into the locker room, located just to the right side of the Rink 1 entrance, was also refurbished.Signs marking program championships and a full wall mural representing the mascots from both South Lyon and East high schools greet fans as they enter the rink. The schools' athletic departments and boosters clubs contributed financially for those exterior graphics."Really, the motivation behind (the renovation) is to build the (hockey) program and get it to the next level," said Joseph, a Board member whose son Anthony is an alternate captain. "We have a lot of motivated parents and families out here."
A SENSE OF PRIDE
Team members completed a mulch-selling fundraiser to help defray costs. Not only did they sell the mulch, but players helped install more than 200-yards of mulch to area residents last spring and raised $6,500 towards expenses not covered by corporate donations. "The boys were responsible for selling and installing mulch for houses in the South Lyon community," said Lowen, whose son Andrew is a junior goalie. "They sold and installed 220 yards of mulch to roughly 20 different homes."The biggest reason why we wanted to do it was to generate some excitement for the South Lyon varsity team and get players attracted to the team," he said. "The old room was neglected, run down, outdated, unsanitary. It just needed to be renovated." Karen Caicco, whose son Aaron is another alternate captain, and Kim Plohetski also played key roles in making the project a reality. The newly-renovated locker room was officially unveiled to the public on Nov. 1. "It seems to have excited the boys, and, what's not to like about (the renovation)," said Joseph. "I think it's brought some pride to the program and to the community."
Contact Marty Budner at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @MartyBudner.
Published in Hometown Life/South Lyon Herald, December 7, 2018