Sunday, 10 April 2011

Michigan's Saving Savior

It was expected that the University of North Dakota Sioux would be playing for the NCAA's men's hockey championship this weekend. There was one team standing between North Dakota and immortality, and the Michigan Wolverines were hoping to upset the Sioux's dreams of ruling the ice in the NCAA. There was one man, however, that put the Wolverines on his shoulders as Michigan looked to end UND's run, and that man has already been featured once on HBIC for his heroics.

Just over one year ago, we met Shawn Hunwick, the walk-on goaltender-turned-starter for the Michigan Wolverines. Hunwick wrote his unlikely story last season, but he added to that story with his performance against UND on Thursday. Hunwick stoned the Sioux on all chances, recording 40 saves in the game in leading the Wolverines past the Sioux by a 2-0 score.

The fact that Hunwick pitched a shutout against one of the highest-scoring teams in the tournament is pretty amazing on its own, but add in the fact that he led the Wolverines to their 21st consecutive appearance in the NCAA men's ice hockey tournament and their 24th Frozen Four appearance overall, and you can see that Hunwick was hauling around some pretty lofty history.

While the final result wasn't quite what Hunwick may have been hoping for as the Michigan Wolverines fell to the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs in the NCAA Frozen Four Final by a 3-2 overtime result, the fact that Hunwick has written one of the most inspiring stories in collegiate hockey over the last few decades is pretty cool.

We've heard and watched the story of Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger, the young man who dreamed of playing for Notre Dame's storied football program, Shawn Hunwick's dream of playing hockey for the Michigan Wolverines has not only been fulfilled, but he should start getting calls from the NHL in regards to his goaltending talents. And much like Rudy, Hunwick's dream of playing in the NHL may be realized not because he was the most talented goaltender in the history of the game, but because he worked harder than everyone else to realize his dreams.

If there is anything that one can learn from Shawn Hunwick, it's that hard work mixed with a little bit of talent can bring great results. No one ever said that it would easy, but, as Shawn Hunwick can attest to, it is the "hard" that makes realizing your dreams so good.

If there is anyone I want to idolize, Shawn Hunwick is that man. Not for his talents or his abilities on the ice, but for following his dream, working his butt off to make it happen, and never giving it. Those are the traits that we should be teaching our kids, and Shawn Hunwick is the living, breathing proof of how great those traits are.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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