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First Top 25 Michigan hockey rankings for 2019-20: Hartland, Brother Rice, Livonia Stevenson, Country Day begin atop rankings

By: SEAN BALIGIAN, December 3, 2019, 9:55 am

With the fall season now fully concluded, and the 2019-20 winter seasons underway, it’s time to look at our initial rankings for hockey. Our top 25 rankings will come out bi-weekly this winter, compiled by contributor and hockey savant Sean Baligian.

Here is the first rendition of our Hockey Top 25:

1. HARTLAND — The defending division 2 champions are off to yet another quick start, but face 2 massive tests this week when they travel to Copper Country to face Hancock and Houghton.

2. BIRMINGHAM BROTHER RICE — Coach Kenny Chaput has his Warriors looking strong early on with a Win at Detroit Catholic Central, and a tie against Livonia Stevenson.

3. LIVONIA STEVENSON — Division 2 looks to be top-heavy yet again, and the Spartans picked up a tie at Brother Rice this past Saturday, after an opening win against Livonia Churchill.

4. DETROIT COUNTRY DAY — The defending Division 3 champs have the opportunity to make a big statement early on this new campaign when they travel to Livonia to face Stevenson on Friday night.

5. NOVI DETROIT CATHOLIC CENTRAL — While the Shamrocks suffered their first loss in the state of Michigan in over a year and a half to Brother Rice, they remain defending champs, and the team to beat in Division 1.

6. TRENTON — The fourth Division 2 team in our top six, and any of them could make a case for the best by the end of the season. Coach Chad Clements and his Trojans have a big road test Wednesday against Grosse Pointe South.

7. CALUMET — The Copper Kings are once again a formidable opponent for anybody, and led by the dynamic Tanner Rowe, one of the best players in the state.

8. HOUGHTON — The Gremlins are yet again one of the best teams in the state. Ask anybody who plays against them, and they will tell you the same: You better be ready to work against Coach Corey Markham and his squad.

9. SALEM — Coach Ryan Ossenmacher and his Rocks went out to Cranbrook and won the CK 2019 Thanksgiving tournament with wins over Cranbrook-Kingswood and Brighton.

10. HOLLAND WEST OTTAWA — The Panthers are off to a fast start at 3-0, outscoring opponents by a 21-7 margin, making an early case for the best on the west side.

11. ORCHARD LAKE ST. MARY’S — The Eaglets start the season with a win over Brighton and a tie against a very good Grand Rapids Catholic Central squad.

12. GRAND RAPIDS CATHOLIC CENTRAL — Coach Mike Slobodnik has another quality squad, as his Cougars are off to a fine start, and led by the outstanding defenseman Jacob Onstott.

13. GROSSE POINTE SOUTH — An impressive 4-0 start is outstanding under first-year coach Paul Moretz, and the can make an even bigger statement early with win over Trenton on Wednesday.

14. PLYMOUTH — The Wildcats start the season 3-0-1, with two west side tests this weekend as coach Gerry Vento and his squad travel to face Grand Rapids Catholic Central and Grandville.

15 BRIGHTON — The Bulldogs are off to a 3-2 start, but year after year play one of the toughest slates in the state, making them dangerous yearly come playoff time.

16. SAGINAW HERITAGE — The Hawks have become one of the “usual suspects” in terms of prominence, and long runs come playoff time, under Coach J.J Bamberger.

17. MARQUETTE — A 2-1 start to the season, with a 3-2 loss at Houghton make the Redmen  yet another team to look out for in the congested Division 2 ranks.

18. MIDLAND DOW — The Chargers are led by player of the year candidate Luke Blasy, and face their cross-town rivals, Midland, on Wednesday night.

19. DETROIT U-D JESUIT — An opposing coach told me that this might be the best Cubbies squad in a few years. A win over powerful Trenton was a big early season statement.

20. BAY REPS — They have picked up where they left off after last years impressive run, with a 3-0 start on the new campaign.

21. DAVISON — The Cards have been a team to watch for a few years now in Division 2, and this year should be no exception.

22. UTICA EISENHOWER — Coach Bob Hall continues to put out solid clubs, and Ike is off to a 3-1 start on the new season.

23. TRAVERSE CITY WEST — Two wins to start the season over Northville and Farmington United have the Titans cracking our top 25.

24. ANN ARBOR GABRIEL RICHARD/GREENHILLS — Coach Clint Robert has done a tremendous job so far making the Irish a tough team to play against.

25. GRANDVILLE — The Bulldogs were a young team that played better as the year went on last year, and they are going to be a team to watch in Division 1 this year. Coach Joel Breazeale and his squad made an early statement on this new campaign with an impressive win over a good Byron Center squad.