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The initial STATE CHAMPS! hockey rankings for the 2021-22 season

By: SEAN BALIGIAN, December 13, 2021, 10:05 am

Now that we’re a few weeks into the regular season, here are Sean Baligian’s initial hockey rankings for the 2021-22 season

1 Novi Detroit Catholic Central (D1, 6-0) — The defending Division 1 champs are perhaps deeper than ever up front, have a tremendous back end, and two exceptional goaltenders. Coach Brandon Kaleniecki’s squad has allowed only three goals in seven in-state games.

2 Warren De La Salle (D3, 7-1) —  Coach Sean Clark and his squad have established themselves as the early favorite in the incredibly deep Division 3 ranks. Speaking of depth, the Pilots roll four solid lines up front, and are bolstered by an incredible back end.

3 Riverview Gabriel Richard (D3, 7-2) — The Pioneers have been a team to be reckoned with for awhile, but they are loaded with depth this year, and getting great goaltending from sophomore Ryan Rainey.

4 Birmingham Brother Rice (D2, 3-4) — The road to Division 2 supremacy still runs through the Warriors, and there may not be a more exciting player in the game right now than junior forward Peter Rosa.

5 Marquette (D2, 7-1-1) — The Redmen are yet again a team to watch in Division 2, and seem to be getting productivity from everywhere.

6 Hartland (D2, 5-2) — Coach Rick Gadwa has another physical team, and the Eagles can and will play with anybody anywhere.

7 Muskegon Mona Shores (D2, 6-1) — The Sailors are definitely in the conversation for Division 2 bragging rights. Their top line is dynamic with Trent Benedict, Ty Langlois and Jake Nanna.

8 Flint Powers (D3, 5-1) — Coach Travis Perry has yet another formidable squad, as his Chargers are off to a fast start.

9 Grosse Pointe South (D3, 5-1-1) — The Blue Devils are another team that loads up on the regular-season slate to get them battle tested for the playoffs. Defenseman Jake Spitz is a do-everything type of player who rarely leaves the ice.

10 Livonia Stevenson (D2, 6-2) — The Spartans are as stingy as ever, as coach David Mitchell has a deep team that has bought into what the staff preaches.

11 Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood (D3, 2-1-1) — The defending Division 3 champs have reloaded and are ready to make another run in ’21-22. Coach John LaFontaine must be commended for the job he has done replacing a legend in Andy Weidenbach.

12 Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (D3, 4-0) — The Eaglets have moved to Division 3, and they must be accounted for. The Division 3 ranks just got tougher in the process.

13 Brighton (D1, 5-2) — Coach Kurt Kivisto has a solid squad across the board and, like every year, it will be ready for the playoff grind.

14 Houghton (D3, 5-2) — Coach Corey Markham has once again built one of the best team in the UP, and in turn, a tough out for anybody in Division 3. Camden Markham is off to a great start with nine goals and 17 points in seven games.

15 Calumet (D3, 3-2) — The Copper Kings remain in the conversation in Division 3, and are being led by the dynamic Jackson Rilei.

16 Traverse City Central (D2, 4-1) — Coach Chris Givens and his Trojans are off to a 4-1 start, and will make things interesting again for anybody in Division 2

17 Jackson Lumen Christi (D3, 5-0) — The Titans are off to a smooth 5-0 start, and being led by senior Kavin Kennedy.

18 Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard-Greenhills (D3, 3-0) — Coach Clint Robert continues to do a fantastic job in Division 3 with his Irish squad.

19 Midland Dow (D3, 3-1-1) — The Chargers are a team to watch, and senior forward Billy VanSumeren is player of the year candidate to watch.

20 Livonia Churchill (D3, 2-0-1) — Coach Jason Reynolds has his Chargers unbeaten early, and they have been very stingy in their own back end.

21 Byron Center (D2, 4-3) — The Bulldogs continue to build something special on the west side, and they will be a tough out for anybody once again.

22 Port Huron Northern (D1, 4-4) — Playing in the MIHL will get them ready for anything they face in the season, and the goaltending from Logan Sheffer has been elite.

23 M-1 Griffins Unified (D1, 7-0) — Coach Paul Fox has done a tremendous job so far, and his squad is off to a 7-0 start.

24 Grandville (D1, 5-1) — The Bulldogs are off to a 5-1 start, and one of the gentlemen in the game, coach Joel Breazeale, has another dangerous Division 1 squad.

25 Grand Rapids Catholic Central (D3, 2-0) — Coach Mike Slobodnik has yet another formidable Cougar squad, which will make things even more interesting in the already intriguing Division 3 ranks.