Italy’s winless streak reached five matches following a 1-1 draw at home with Ukraine in a friendly on Wednesday – extending the Azzurri’s poor run of form following their failure to qualify for the World Cup.Ruslan Malinovskyi equalized seven minutes after Federico Bernardeschi’s opener early in the second half.Italy has recorded only one victory in 10 matches, a win over Saudi Arabia in a friendly in May. In competitive games, the Azzurri haven’t won in more than than a year.”It’s a pity that we’re still lacking results,” Italy coach Roberto Mancini said. “We need to be more incisive, because when you create a lot of chances you’ve got to score goals.”Italy will hope for improved form in a UEFA Nations League match at Poland on Sunday. Mancini’s squad has gained only one point from its opening two games in the competition and sits last in its group.Moreover, Italy has won only once under Mancini in six matches.Bernardeschi scored with a shot from beyond the area that goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov had in his hands but couldn’t stop.Malinovskyi replied with a half-volley when a corner wasn’t fully cleared then nearly won it with a free kick off the crossbar.The match was stopped briefly in the 43rd minute for a dedication to the 43 people who died in the Morandi bridge disaster in August in Genoa.(With AP inputs)
Former NRL premiership winning player, Matthew Johns was one of hundreds of parents to brave the conditions on day one of the 2013 New South Wales Junior State Cup in Port Macquarie to cheer on their children. Johns’ son, Cooper is playing for the Manly Sea Eagles at the event in the 14’s Boys division and has played in the younger divisions at Junior State Cup in the past. Cooper’s team had a first-up loss against Parramatta in game one this morning, but Johns was a proud Dad on the sidelines regardless of the result. “They are going good, they played Parramatta first up, they played very well, they didn’t win but they went very well,” Johns said. “He played in the under 12’s at Illawarra a couple of years back, so he’s quite fond of it.”Johns was full of praise for the sport of Touch Football and the skills demonstrated by the players. “(Cooper) loves it. Touch Football is so good for skill, it’s unbelievable. Days gone by, when I played Rugby League, they looked down on Touch Football but you just can’t beat it for skill.”Johns is enjoying the opportunity that the weekend provides to be a spectator and cheer on Cooper’s team. “It’s nice to get away and get up on the coast in Port Macquarie, although the weather, I’ve seen it better!”Related LinksJohns Enjoying JSC
Australia’s favourite knockout event will be turning the big 3-0 in 2018!The Yass Valley Touch Football Knockout is a hugely successful club and affiliate team competition that caters for all levels of participation. The 2018 event will be held on the 27th & 28th January at Walker Park Yass and will have over $15,000 n prize money on offer.Nomination DetailsNominate and register your players online at www.yasstouch.com.au with a team nomination fee of $300 to be paid online.Players must be registered in a 2017 Season 1 or Season 2 competition affiliated with NSWTA, TFA or FIT to qualify to play in the 2018 Yass Touch Football Knockout. Team nominations will be limited to 120 teams and the Knockout will only be played at Walker Park, Yass.Nominations Close 12 January 2018For more information and to read the history of the Yass Touch Knockout, please click here.
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Man Utd midfielder Angel Gomes expecting physical Rochdale testby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United midfielder Angel Gomes is expecting a physical test against Carabao Cup opponents Rochdale.The United youngster is set to be involved tonight.He told MUTV, “They’re a League One side, a tough team and physical but that’s part of the game anyway. Every team we play against will be physical, that’s a given, so I don’t really take that into consideration.”We’ll try to play our football and attack as much possible, trying to show our strengths.“They’ll come out all guns blazing, I would imagine. It’s a big game for them, they’ve not played against our club for a long time and they have an ex-United player in Oli Rathbone.”I grew up watching him as he was two or three age-groups above me. I know him quite well so hopefully he’ll play and I’ll be able to play against him.“
LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 28: A moment of silence is observed in honor of Philip “Flip” Saunders’ passing before the game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center on October 28, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and condition of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)Update: Phil Jackson is in the building. In attendance tonight – One of the greatest coaches of all time…alongside Phil Jackson #GoBucks pic.twitter.com/QfvIDzSYea— OSU BASKETBALL (@OhioStateHoops) February 26, 2015New York Knicks President Phil Jackson is at the Schottenstein Center to watch the Buckeyes and D’Angelo Russell. pic.twitter.com/CnhSXGTvhr— Lantern TV (@LanternTV) February 26, 2015Earlier: The New York Knicks have the worst record (10-46) in the NBA and are one of several franchises in tank mode as they attempt to secure the best possible odds for the 2015 NBA Draft lottery. If the Knicks do end up with the No. 1 pick in the upcoming draft, the common opinion is that they will select Duke freshman center Jahlil Okafor, but there are other possible candidates. One prospect who might be worthy of the top pick is Ohio State playmaking freshman guard D’Angelo Russell. The 6-foot-5 Russell is having a monster season in Columbus, and Knicks team president Phil Jackson is reportedly going to watch him play tonight against Nebraska. Word from the Schott that some dude named Phil Jackson will be in the house…Gee…wonder who he’s scouting?— Matt McCoy (@MattMcCoyWTVN) February 26, 2015 Jackson has to cover all of his bases. The Knicks need a lot of help, and can’t afford to bungle their lottery selection, no matter where they will pick. Either Russell or Okafor would be a win for a franchise in dire need of them.
Hyderabad: The ruling TRS in Telangana, which has enrolled 60 lakh members during its recently-concluded membership drive, is now focused on strengthening its party organisation in the state.TRS working president K T Rama Rao, who held a meeting with the party’s general secretaries on Wednesday, told them to complete the process of constitution of party committees by August 31 and submit a report by September 1, sources said. He was told that the constitution of party committees had almost been completed, they said. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’He suggested that constituency-level (party) meetings be organised, as membership drive and constitution of party committees have come to an end. Rama Rao, son of TRS president and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, also reviewed the construction of party offices in districts, the sources said. The construction of party offices is going on at a brisk pace in all the districts, the sources added. TRShas enrolled about 60 lakh members during its membership drive which began in the last week of June and concluded recently. The last date for submission of membership books was August 25, party sources had said earlier. The party has got over Rs 20 crore through membership fee. It offers insurance facility to its members. TRShad returned to power in the Assembly polls held in December last with a massive majority, winning 88 of the total of 119 seats. Though the party expected to bag at least 13-14 of the total of 17 seats in Lok Sabha polls, it won nine. The loss of sitting MP and Chief Minister Rao’s daughter K Kavitha, in particular, came as a setback to the party.
FULL SPECIAL REPORTBy Jorge BarreraAPTN National NewsHer father was a preacher and she says she believes in God.And she swears she’s telling the truth about the guns.Juanita Cree, 48, says she smuggled two Arizona-bought guns into Canada and planted them in the house of her former boss, a Lebanese-born Canadian citizen named Michael Chamas, 47, who is now a fugitive.“I brought the guns…into Canada,” said Cree, whose Mohawk father was a Pentecostal preacher in Akwesasne. “I put them there.”A Quebec judge issued a warrant for Chamas’ arrest after he skipped a court date on Oct. 19. Chamas is facing trial on nine weapons charges stemming from the two Arizona-bought guns police found in his Lorraine, Que., home on March 26, 2008.Police raided his home as part of Operation Cancun, which targeted a drug smuggling network operating out of Kahnawake and Akwesanse that brought Quebec-grown marijuana into the U.S.Chamas claimed he couldn’t show up for court because he was sick, but the RCMP discovered he had been traveling the globe, including a stop in Mexico where he is involved in a bid to revive Mexicana Air, Mexico’s oldest airline that went bankrupt in 2010.Police suspected Chamas was the “banker” for the cross-border marijuana smuggling organization.Chamas denies this, saying he didn’t know police believed some of the individuals he was linked to were allegedly involved in laundering money from marijuana smuggling.Cree says she planted the guns in Chamas’ house at the suggestion of a Surete du Quebec sergeant, who was with the Aboriginal policing unit.The officer could not be reached for comment. When APTN National News phoned his last known office, one officer said he was on leave, while another said he had been transferred from the unit.The guns, however are only part of Cree’s story.She says she also worked as an informant in Kanesetake, the Mohawk community at the centre of the 1990 Oka crisis, for the Surete du Quebec (SQ) and the RCMP.She claims these things in a sworn affidavit, now sealed but available for download on Michael Chamas’ website, that was filed this past May into Chamas’ court case.None of the claims in the affidavit have been proven in court.With Chamas on the run, it may take some time before Cree is ever challenged about her assertions on the witness stand.To this point, Cree has not been subpoenaed to testify.The RCMP said they could not comment on Cree’s claims.“There is a sealing order in place on this matter, so the RCMP cannot confirm or deny the allegations made by Ms. Cree,” said RCMP Cpl. Carine Cordey. “We don’t want to jeopardize anything that is going on right now that could be before the courts.”The Surete du Quebec also said they could not comment on the matter.The Crown prosecutor, Danny Lemieux, who works for a special unit created to deal with cases involving the proceeds of organized crime, refused to comment on an ongoing case.APTN National News has learned that the prosecution was prepared to challenge the credibility of her statements in the affidavit and was prepared to call SQ officers as witnesses against her if the defence attempted to use Cree’s explosive claims.It’s also believed that the prosecution was prepared to argue that Cree was never technically an informant, but did supply information to the police.The prosecution was prepared to say that the SQ officer Cree says recruited her to become an informant may have been “playing his own game,” according to a source with knowledge of the file.The former officer, Daniel Beaudry, was the police force’s liaison officer in Kanesetake. He could not be reached for comment.Beaudry was disciplined over ties to Chamas while the businessman was under criminal investigation, according to a letter of reprimand from Feb. 8, 2006.The letter of reprimand.Download (PDF, Unknown)Cree maintains she was recruited by Beaudry to become an informant for the SQ between 1994 and 2000. She said she signed a contract with Beaudry and was given a “Confidential Informant” number along with a pager.Cree said relationship with the SQ lasted between 1994 and 2000.“I was trying to help them to gain information that was relevant to some of the operations they were trying to undertake,” said Cree.No money was paid directly for the information she provided, she said.The money moved through separate contracts with Quebec’s justice department for setting up meetings with prominent community members and police training programs, said Cree.“They were cautious and careful about how they gave me money,” said Cree.In one instance, Cree said she worked with the SQ in preparation for a drug operation in August 1995.“They were gathering information via surveillance and most of it was aerial surveillance and we had these large (air surveillance) pictures of the reserve,” said Cree. “And they were asking me to identify who lived where and what was around, pockets of families and people who were in certain locations.”The relationship with the RCMP, which started in 1995, was different.Cree said she acted more as a consultant to the RCMP on policing in First Nations communities across Quebec.“It was how to approach communities, how to make a difference in community policing aspects…They were very interested in (Quebec’s) far north,” said Cree. “I actually flew on the RCMP commissioner’s plane…I spent time with their liaison officer going to different communities, looking at different training things, making connections…making sure they got in to speak to the right people.”The RCMP also gave Cree grants to run sensitivity and cultural training programs for police officers and justice officials.Cree said she eventually drifted away from the police and Kanesatake and by 2000 had reinvented herself in the business world.She became heavily involved in a project to create a free-trade zone at Montreal’s Mirabel airport. Free-trade zones allow goods to be imported, manufactured, reconfigured and then exported tax-free.The free trade zone project ended in the fall of 2001 after Bombardier was allowed to build a hanger that encroached on one of the runways. The airport suddenly didn’t meet the regulations to handle the volume needed for a free-trade zone.Cree said she met Chamas during a gala at the Sheraton related to the proposed free-trade zone.“He was standing in the lobby of the Sheraton and he was very striking, very tall,” said Cree.Chamas wanted in on the free-trade zone and Cree said he had lined up about $50 million worth of investments from China before the project fell through.A self-styled high-flying, international financier, it appears Chamas has business links all over the world; from China, to Switzerland, to Dubai to Venezuela.Chamas has also been the subject of police investigation in two other countries: Switzerland and France.Before becoming a fugitive in Canada, Chamas was gaining altitude. He was attending political fundraisers promising jobs, planning to buy a Quebec bank and promising to set up international construction deals in Dubai.He projected the image of an international financier with limitless access to overseas capital and high-level international connections.Yet, through most of it, he battled the tax man and eventually lost. Chamas had been fighting Revenue Canada in the courts before he fled the country.Tax authorities put a $1.8 million lien on his luxury home in Lorrain which has since been seized and put on the market. He also owed $1.5 million to Quebec in taxes, according to court records.Tax authorities also seized his $200,000 Rolls Royce and over $700,000 from two CIBC bank accounts, according to court records.Chamas, who obtained his Canadian citizenship in 1995, said he didn’t owe tax authorities any money because he maintained his residency overseas where he conducted the majority of his business.Tax authorities and the courts disagreed.But it was his relationship with Cree, who was his personal assistant on his North American dealings, which offered him the biggest prize: access to the Conservative government.Cree was a close associate of David Bernstein, a Montreal bankruptcy lawyer and former Tory candidate who ran unsuccessfully against former Independent Senator and Liberal MP Marcel Prud’Homme in 1976, 1979 and 1980.Bernstein was friends with John Crosbie, a former Tory cabinet minister in the Brian Mulroney government and current lieutenant-governor of Newfoundland and Labrador.Bernstein was also close to John Reynolds, a former Tory and Reform MP who chaired Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party leadership bid in 2004 and he chaired the Conservative’s federal campaign in 2006.Both men are mentioned in Bernstein’s obituary, along with Jerome Choquette, who was the minister of justice for the Quebec Liberal government of Robert Bourassa during the October crisis in the 1970s.Chamas, through Cree, began forming a business relationship with Bernstein who believed the self-styled international financier could raise $1.5 billion in capital for the purchase of the Laurentian Bank in Quebec.Everything, however, came crashing down on Chamas on March 26, 2008, when RCMP and SQ police officers with the Aboriginal Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit executed a search warrant at his home in Lorraine, just north of Montreal.The RCMP had traced a $1 million transfer into one of Chamas’ account from individuals investigators believed were laundering money for a cross-border smuggling network operating out of the Mohawk communities of Kahnawake and Akwesasne.Chamas said the transfer was for money he was owed.Revenue Canada and immigration officials were also present during the raid, which was part of Operation Cancun, an investigation aimed at dismantling the drug network which moved Quebec-produced marijuana to New York City.The RCMP’s Integrated Proceeds of Crime Unit was also involved in the Cancun investigation and targeted the suspected money players, including Chamas and one of his associates named Nicolas Anthis.Investigators found two Arizona-bought guns when they searched Chamas’ house in Lorraine, just north of Montreal.One was a Taurus .38 calibre hand-gun bought at the Cash Box Jewellery & Pawn Co. in Tucson, Az., on Feb. 13, 2008, according to a gun trace supplied to the RCMP by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.The other gun was a Glock .40 calibre bought at Sportsman’s Warehouse in the same city on the same day, according to the gun trace.The gun trace.Download (PDF, Unknown)Chamas was charged with nine weapons offences in connection with the guns. None of the offences included gun smuggling.“Those guns, that wasn’t him. That was me,” said Cree, who also had her phone tapped and was under surveillance during the Cancun investigation.Cree says she used Chamas’ birthday as cover to plant the guns.Cree said she phoned Chamas, who was born on Feb. 9, to tell him she had a belated birthday present for him. She carried the guns inside a bag with the present, a magnetized globe.She said she planted the .38 in a basement closet while Chamas showed her some renovations she had done to his home theatre section.Under the pretext of wanting to see newly bought baby furniture in the adjacent room, Cree said she slipped the Glock into the inside pocket of one of this suit jackets hanging in the master bedroom closet.Police found the guns in those locations.Cree said she planted the guns on either March 12 or 13, two weeks before the raid.The proximity between the dates she says she planted the guns and the raids was pure coincidence, said Cree. She said she was not told about the looming raid or tip police about the guns.Cree, however, stayed in contact with Chamas after she says she planted the guns.“I wasn’t working directly with him,” said Cree. “After Cancun hit, he distanced himself from me…some of the associates around him kept telling him I was working for the police.”Cree, however, admits that as time passed, she again entered into Chamas’ sphere and finally told him in April over a lunch of steak and grilled chicken Cesar salad that she planted the guns. She said a glass of wine spilled.The continued relationship, however, raises the possibility that Chamas made a deal with Cree to file the affidavit and claim the guns were planted.They had worked together for several years and she had intimate knowledge of many of his business dealings.If Chamas went down, he could also take Cree with him.Cree’s affidavit gave Chamas a golden ticket to beat the weapons charges.Cree denies there was any deal.“He never paid me to do a deal for him or to take this or do anything. None of that,” said Cree.Chamas, in a separate interview, also denied there was a deal and used a vulgar term to describe Cree.“Are you out of your mind…that bitch, she ruined my life, why would I pay her?” he said.Cree said she arranged for the guns to be bought legally by a nephew. She then smuggled them into Canada.APTN National News traced the name of the individual whose driver’s license was used to buy the guns, but could not reach him for comment.APTN National News did reach the individual’s former partner, who is Cree’s niece, and she said he did buy guns for a family member, but she wasn’t sure about the date.“If the ATF comes to me and charges me, okay, I have to take responsibility for that. It was me. I don’t want them to go and find another scapegoat and say it was somebody else or whatever,” said Cree. “It was me. Am I running away from it? No.”Police seized hundreds of documents from Chamas when they raided his house, including an application for an Arizona driver’s licence.Cree says the application had nothing to do with the purchase of the guns.Chamas said he lived in Arizona in the 1980s after he came to North America from Lebanon for the first time.Cree said the decision to plant the guns began during a meeting in November 2007 with the SQ officer who spoke about Beaudry and Chamas.“He talked to me about who he was, that he was working in Aboriginal policing, (and) he said I know you, you have a reputation here,” said Cree.“(The officer) then stated that it would be better to take them all down,” her affidavit states. “He suggested this using the example of illegal weapons being discovered at the residences of individuals.”Cree said she had other conversations with her acquaintances that also pushed her toward the decision to plant the weapons.“I remember having a conversation with (one lawyer) in his office and he said ‘are you sure you know who you are dealing with?’” said Cree. “He was really pressing in terms of ‘are you sure of these things? Are you sure of these facts? Are you sure you know who this person is?’”But it was a conversation Cree had with Bernstein in January 2008 that finally convinced her to plant the guns.“It was almost like Chamas’ money smelled,” said Cree. “(Bernstein) was told something…and started referring to (Chamas) in a very negative way.”Cree said there were dark hints about financing terrorism.Cree said she decided to come clean about the guns this past spring after talking with Bernstein who was dying in hospital from cancer.Bernstein died in April.“When he was lying in bed and talking about doing things that we were having a lot of regret for,” said Cree. “I knew he was dying and he was talking directly about Chamas. I could do nothing else but come forward with the truth.”She says she just wants to clear her conscience.“My responsibility is to take responsibility, to take accountability for what I had done,” said Cree. “Yes it is a matter of conscience.”Cree says she is ready to face the consequences for committing the crimes of smuggling guns across an international border and using them to frame her former boss.Now she waits.“They are either going to say I am charged with something and get it over with or they are going to come out and call me a complete psycho,” said [email protected]
Any Buckeye will tell you there’s not much that tops the feeling of defeating “that team up north.” The Ohio State wrestling team is no exception. “It’s Ohio State — Michigan. We don’t like each other,” senior captain Colt Sponseller said. “That’s evident when we wrestle each other.” The misconception that the rivalry is limited to football is something the team looks to dispel. “A lot of people think it’s just football, but it’s all sports,” Sponseller said. “It’s a real big deal.” The Buckeyes have beaten Michigan the past three years, and look to extend that to four when they host the Wolverines at 7 p.m. Friday. “We’ve won the last three; we want to continue to win against Michigan,” coach Tom Ryan said. “Our group understands the importance of the rivalry.” The competition brings a different approach to the week preceding it. Ryan said he showed his team a video of the football rivalry, and the wrestlers know it is not just an ordinary dual. “The whole Ohio State atmosphere with Michigan — we want to beat them; they want to beat us,” sophomore captain Ian Paddock said. “So, that always adds to the competition.” Members of the winning team will receive gold singlets, like the gold pants trinkets given to victorious football players. Though their records are near opposites — Michigan is 7-2 and the Buckeyes are 2-6 — Ryan said he believes a win is within the Buckeyes’ sights. “We’re looking for a win,” he said. “Despite the struggles we have had, I think the matchups are favorable for us.” A Buckeye victory against the Wolverines rests on the outcome of one key matchup. “It’ll come down to the 197 pounds,” Ryan said. “It’ll be the key match of the night for both programs.” Sponseller said his team is ready for the dual and eager to take on its rival. “Everybody gets geared up,” he said. “It always feels like there’s a rivalry.” Ryan said his captains need to step up for the dual and lead the team to victory. Sponseller said he isn’t taking the challenge lightly. “Not trying to be an enforcer,” he said, “but trying to be a motivator.” The fans will play a key role in Friday’s dual, Sponseller said. “The crowd means a lot,” he said. “It feels like you have an 11th man out there.” Sponseller said he has one plan. “I just plan on going out there,” he said, “and beating Michigan.”
Redshirt-junior goalkeeper Alex Ivanov prepares to take a free kick during a match against Wright State Sept. 17 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The teams tied, 0-0.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorAfter starting seven games for the Ohio State men’s soccer team last season, a confident redshirt-junior Alex Ivanov is having a solid season as goalkeeper for the Buckeyes — but it could just be because of his good luck charm.As a child, playing in goal wasn’t always his preferred position, but his instincts led him to the position he would grow to love.“When I was in the seventh grade, they threw me in the goal because I was the only kid who wanted to dive for the ball and they kind of just kept me in there,” Ivanov said.Last season, Ivanov had the chance to play with current Columbus Crew and former Buckeye goalkeeper Matt Lampson. Lampson posted a 0.86 goals-against average during his career at OSU and produced the second most shutouts in OSU men’s soccer history.Buckeye assistant coach Taly Goode works primarily with goalkeepers and said Ivanov learned how to build good habits from Lampson, which has helped his progression this year.Goode also said more playing time this year has led to an improvement for Ivanov.“Last year, one of the big things that (Ivanov) needed was games,” Goode said. “I think with goalkeepers, that game experience, it helped him mature and helped him build confidence in himself and then the teammates build confidence in him.”Ivanov is also building a stronger relationship with his teammates, Goode said. The players voted Ivanov as the most improved in the fall.Senior defender Sage Gardner said knowing Ivanov is behind him is a “breath of fresh air” and said the goalkeeper’s leadership and confidence has helped the team.“It’s nice to know that you have someone back there who is always going to cover you,” Gardner said. “The leadership and organization back there from him has been good for the team.”Currently, Ivanov is leading the Big Ten Conference in total saves with 55, 19 more than second place Michigan redshirt-junior goalkeeper Adam Grinwis. He also has three shutouts for the team this year.Daily improvements from practice are a focus for the Buckeye goalkeeper.“I’m always looking for stuff that I do in games that I need to improve on and I try and get something out of practice every day,” he said. “I think that will spread to all of the defenders and we will all get better as a unit as the season progresses.”Ivanov attributes most of his success to the team’s defense but also to his grandfather’s necklace, which he wears every night before a game.“I have this little good-luck charm that I wear, it’s my grandpa’s necklace that I got,” he said. “It’s like this golden nugget and I have to wear it every night before I go to sleep before a game.”One of the biggest improvements in Ivanov’s game this year has been his confidence. Coach John Bluem said Ivanov believes in himself more than last year and that comes from support of those around him, but also that he has a greater belief in his own abilities.Bluem also said having a more than capable backup in junior Andrian McAdams has helped Ivanov this year.“Andrian trains really hard and really pushes himself in training and that makes (Ivanov) push himself as well,” he said. “(Ivanov) knows if he slips up and has a few bad games that we’re probably going to give McAdams a chance. That kind of pressure and that kind of somebody in training that works hard helps keep you ready.”Earlier this season, in a match against Wright State, Ivanov was shown a red card for an intentional handball outside of the box, forcing him to miss the following match versus Dayton and giving McAdams the start.Bluem said instead of getting down on himself, Ivanov helped the backup goalkeeper prepare for the game.“He handled it well. He was at training and working hard like always, but now his role on the team is a little different,” Bluem said, “but his role for himself never changes. He comes and he gives 100 percent of himself to the team and he encouraged Andrian and helped Andrian get prepared so we were able to handle the goalkeeping duties successfully.”This kind of effort and care for the team has led Bluem to look at Ivanov as a leader of the team.“He is a leader,” Bluem said. “This is his fourth year here now and the other day at Akron when they scored the early goal against us, he’s the guy who called the players in and calmed everybody down and got the guys moving forward again.”Ivanov and the Buckeyes have an overall record of 2-5-2, 0-1-0 in conference. The team is scheduled to host No. 18 Louisville Wednesday at 7 p.m., before rival Michigan comes to town Sunday.
OSU hockey coach Steve Rohlik (back) talks to his team during a game against Michigan March 2 at Nationwide Arena. OSU lost, 4-3.Credit: Ben Jackson / For The LanternFor being such long endeavors, it’s odd that sports seasons are supposedly defined by their end results. It makes more sense to take a more holistic approach and look at the big picture — at the sum of all those little moments that go unnoticed.An event that was noticed was the 2014 Big Ten Hockey Tournament Championship in St. Paul, Minn. The first season of Big Ten hockey came down to one final game between Ohio State and Wisconsin, where the Buckeyes led 4-2 with less than seven minutes left March 22.The man behind OSU’s bench was Steve Rohlik. An associate head coach for three years with the Buckeyes, the 2013-14 season was Rohlik’s first in the top job. He had led his team through an 0-3 start and a goaltending reshuffle to bring the team within striking distance of its first NCAA Tournament appearance in five years.His seemingly calm demeanor didn’t reveal the tension of the encounter, nor his own personal details that made the situation more compelling — this was not only a game in his hometown, but it was also against his alma mater. The script almost writes itself.But, without warning, that script disappeared. The line between success and failure — one the Buckeyes had toed all season long in their 18-14-5 campaign — became clear. The Badgers scored twice in 28 seconds during the third period to tie the game, and less than eight minutes into the overtime period, Wisconsin was the Big Ten champion.“I couldn’t have asked much more from our guys. They laid it on the line,” Rohlik said last week. “Ultimately I think we were 6:52 short of doing something pretty darn special for this university, for the alumni here, and for this program.”That wasn’t the whole story, though. Instead, it was simply the end of the journey for a team and a coach that stressed the small things, and few could’ve imagined the Buckeyes would finish where they did after the upheaval of the previous spring.Before Rohlik stepped into his new role, Mark Osiecki was fired just over three weeks after the end of the 2012-13 season because of what athletic director Gene Smith called in a press release “a difference of opinion over the management of the program that could not be resolved.”It was Osiecki, Rohlik’s teammate at the University of Wisconsin, who brought him to Columbus as an associate head coach. Rohlik was named coach on an interim basis the day after Osiecki was let go, and then about a week later, was confirmed as the ninth head coach in program history.“I’m truly honored, humbled and very blessed,” Rohlik said at his introductory press conference April 24, 2013. “When I sat down with the administration, and they told me the support they had moving into the Big Ten, I knew this was the place I wanted to be.”Despite being an assistant coach for 16 years, Rohlik displayed leadership qualities at a young age. Captain at both Hill-Murray High School in St. Paul, Minn., and the University of Wisconsin, he had loads of experience in leading hockey players.“From a young age, I was a captain of every team I’ve ever been on. In high school, in every sport I was a captain, my buddies called me ‘the captain.’” Rohlik said. “It was just in my blood. I love to put my neck out there, I love to try to do things the right way, and I love to give it 110 percent and do whatever it takes to help the team win.”Just like leadership, hockey was also in Rohlik’s blood. Growing up in the “land of 10,000 lakes,” he said there was always a pond to skate on, and Rohlik described the sport as “a way of life.”The dream for most kids was to play in the Minnesota state championship game. Rohlik played in two.From there, he crossed the state line and attended the University of Wisconsin, captaining the Badgers in his junior and senior seasons, with his final campaign culminating in the 1990 NCAA Championship.“I might’ve been the guy with the ‘C’ on his sweater, but we had so many great leaders, and all the hard work kind of accumulated to our senior year,” Rohlik said. “To win the (Western Collegiate Hockey Association), to win the WCHA playoffs, and then to win the NCAA Tournament … you can’t write a book any better than that year.”Rohlik had a short stint as a professional before returning to his alma mater, Hill-Murray, as coach at the age of 23. Growing up, Rohlik’s father served the school in administrative position, so he said his dream was to play at Hill-Murray, making his appointment as coach even more meaningful.Five seasons in St. Paul were followed by Division I assistant coaching jobs at Nebraska-Omaha and Minnesota-Duluth. Then in 2010, Rohlik got the call from Osiecki, and in just three years he’d become the coach.“I think I’ve tried to take everything over my experiences as a player for so many years and as a coach for so many years. I just try to compile all those experiences,” Rohlik said. “Throughout all those years, you continue to ask yourself, ‘what would you do in that situation?’ I try to put myself in that spot, and ultimately when you get called upon (to be head coach), you try to surround yourself with good people.”One of those people is associate head coach Brett Larson, a man Rohlik got to know at Minnesota-Duluth, and who Rohlik brought to OSU upon his appointment last year. Larson said Rohlik’s passion coupled his with genuine nature makes him a natural fit for a coach.“The players can see how much he cares, how passionate he is. He wants to push everything to the next level,” Larson said. “It’s a great part of our culture, and you always say that the head coach leads the culture of a program. Being so passionate and so genuine are two things that make the players really want to play hard for him.”The switch in coaching might have been tricky, but junior forward Tanner Fritz — who played under Rohlik as an assistant for two years — said the familiarity was actually beneficial.“When he was the assistant coach, he was always the guy in the room after practice talking to the guys. He still does that — he’s a great player coach,” Fritz said. “He’s very involved in the team. I think he’s tight with every one of us. It’s good to have a coach that’s approachable and can talk to you outside of hockey.”Besides his management skills and personability, Rohlik wants to instill in his players that passion Larson and so many others see clearly in him. Judging by what players like Fritz have to say about it, he seems to have succeeded.“His passion for the game is — bar none — one of the best I’ve ever seen. The guy loves the game, he loves being at the rink,” Fritz said. “(The players) feed off that energy. We’re hard-working and we play with a lot of passion, and that comes from the coaching staff.”That might not have come through at first, however. Three consecutive losses to start the season, an injury to freshman goalie Matt Tomkins and another goalie, then-sophomore Collin Olson, leaving the program in November threatened to derail the entire season.But things changed with the addition of freshman goalie Christian Frey in net and the competitiveness of the Big Ten conference. Each game seemed to bring out the best in the Buckeyes as they finished fourth, behind three top-20 squads.Freshman forward Nick Schilkey, who was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team, said the coaching philosophy of Rohlik and his staff was a big factor in righting the ship.“He focuses on a lot of details. We focused all year on sticking together and sticking to the gameplan the coaches had set in place,” Schilkey said. “Over time, we grew into that gameplan and it showed during the second half of the year.”Those details came together in many instances, including the upset of then-No. 1 Minnesota in the Big Ten Tournament semifinal. Even if the season could be considered a success though, Rohlik knows there’s more to come from this team and this program.“Were we satisfied at the end? Absolutely not. Were we satisfied with where we were at in the league? Absolutely not,” Rohlik said. “There’s certainly always room for improvement, and we know we’ve got a long way to go.”And though he’s building a program, Rohlik sees his job as much more than that.He cites the examples of junior forward Ryan Dzingel and senior forward Alex Lippincott as proof of what the sport’s biggest impact can be. Dzingel just signed a professional contract with the Ottawa Senators of the NHL, while Lippincott recently got his first job as graduation approaches.“You see the power of what Ohio State can (do), be it moving on with the hockey or moving on because of the academic side of things,” Rohlik said. “I think that makes it pretty special for us to be involved with.”Now, with one season under his belt, Rohlik is aiming to make things even more special around the OSU hockey program.If he continues to get some of those little details right, it’d be hard to overestimate how far he can take it.