CMA holds rich hockey tradition

Dalton Tinklenberg
Staff Writer

With the NHL season underway we’ve all seen hockey on television or online at some point in our lives. Stereotypically thought of as a sport that is mainly played up north, many people don’t know about the rich history of hockey tradition that sits just a short drive down S.R. 17. The location is Culver Military Academies and the history is quite staggering.
CMA has quietly earned the reputation as a hockey powerhouse while boasting a total of 22 former Culver players who have been drafted by NHL teams. Of those, seven former players have played or are currently playing in the NHL. Some notable alumni from the school include Gary Suter, John-Michael Liles and Kevin Dean.
Suter was the NHL Rookie of the Year for the 1985-86 season playing with the Calgary Flames. He also went on to become a five-time All-Star, played 16 seasons in the NHL and won a Stanley Cup with the Calgary Flames. Suter was the first CMA graduate to have his name on the Stanley Cup.
Liles was drafted by Colorado in 2000 and was even a Hobey Baker finalist in 2003. The award is an annual award given to the top NCAA men’s ice hockey player. He made the Avalanche roster at the start of the 2003-04 season and was named to the NHL’s All-Rookie Team in 2004.
Finally, Dean was the second Culver graduate to get his name on the Stanley Cup when he won with New Jersey in 1995. Dean also played for the fairly local Chicago Blackhawks.
Speaking of the Blackhawks, there currently resides a for CMA graduate in the team’s minor league system. Andrew Schmit, originally from Grafton, Wis. played for CMA in 2007-08 and 2008-09. The young man then signed on to play with the Chicago Steel of the USHL.