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Published: Wednesday, 12/10/2008

Holland's Unice to play for U.S. in under-20 hockey championship

BLADE STAFF

Goaltender Josh Unice, a Holland native, will mind the nets for Team USA in the World Junior Championships this winter.

On Dec. 3, Unice was selected to play for USA Hockey's National Junior Team. He is one of just 22 players picked to participate in the 2009 International Ice Hockey Federation World Under-20 Championships in Ottawa.

The tournament, which begins Dec. 26 and ends Jan. 5, is commonly referred to as the World Junior Championships.

Unice, 19, was selected by the Chicago Blackhawks in the third round of the 2007 NHL draft.

Unice plays for the Kitchener Rangers in Ontario. He led Kitchener, which is a major junior hockey team, to an Ontario Hockey League title last season.

Unice helped Team USA take the silver medal at the 2007 IIHF World Under-18 Championships.

He has appeared in 12 games for Kitchener this year and has posted a .891 save percentage. Kitchener is just southwest of Toronto.

The young netminder will play against teams from Latvia, Russia, Germany, Kazakhstan, and Canada in the World Junior Championships.

All of the games will be televised on the NHL Network. The team plays Latvia in an exhibition on Dec. 21.

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CHARITY EVENT: The Whitmer High School hockey team will hold a fund-raiser to support an injured player from Start High School.

When the teams play against each other on Jan. 24, all proceeds from the game will go to support Dustin Wells. The Start senior suffered a spinal cord injury when he was hit in a game on Nov. 28.

Wells, 18, was seriously injured during a contest against Northview.

On Jan. 24, Whitmer plays Start in the annual rivalry game, with the teams competing for the Tremainsville Trophy at Team Toledo Ice House at 9:30 p.m.

Two hours of ice time is being donated by the Ice House for the game. The Northwest Hockey Conference referees also have agreed to donate their time for the game.

"With the support of both of these organizations, the entire gate for the game will be donated to the Dustin Wells fund," Whitmer assistant coach Mark Boze said.

He said a bucket donation also will be held between periods to support another local player who was injured the same weekend.

Clay freshman Kyle Cannon suffered a broken neck when he was hit during a game on Nov. 30.

"The Whitmer team can only hope that this small effort can help to alleviate just a small portion of the expenses that our fellow players will incur," Boze said. "We hope that the stands are full on Jan. 24."

For more information, call Mark Boze at 419-467-6564.

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HOCKEY: The Toledo Cherokee Junior A hockey team has a big road trip coming up this weekend.

Through Dec. 4, Toledo was tied with Peoria atop the Central States Hockey League standings with 39 points. The Cherokee was 19-2-1, and Peoria was 19-3-1.

Toledo travels to play Peoria on Saturday and takes on the Illinois-based team again on Sunday on the road.

Central Catholic High School graduate Andrew Kolb led the league in scoring through Dec. 4, and Northview graduate Brett Bain was just two points behind in second place. Kolb had scored 19 goals and dished out 23 assists for a total of 42 points. Bain had tallied 16 goals and 21 assists for 37 points.

Evan Johnston, a senior at Southview High School, was ranked 13th in the league with 30 points (8 goals and 22 assists).

The Cherokee's next home game is Dec. 20 against Grand Rapids at 11:30 a.m. The team plays at Team Toledo Ice House on West Alexis Road.

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BASEBALL: The Defiance College baseball program will host several winter camps in the coming months.

The first will be on Jan. 11 inside the Karl H. Weaner Community Center on the school's campus. Enrollment will be limited for the camps, which will be held from noon to 3 p.m. on Sundays through Feb. 22.

The camps feature one-day instructional, hitting, catching, and pitching clinics for boys in grades three through 12. It also includes a prospect camp for sophomores, juniors, and seniors with an interest in playing collegiate baseball.

The cost for each session varies, but discounts are available for preregistration and for attending multiple sessions. All campers will receive a free camp T-shirt.

For more information, contact Defiance coach Derek Woodley at dwoodley@defiance.edu or 419-783-2341.



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