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Hockey keeps bringing Adamek brothers back together

Jan. 23, 2004

By Lindsey Mechalik, LSSU Sports Information Intern

Mike and Mark Adamek had an easier first year at Lake Superior State than most freshmen from out of state because the two became the first brothers in Laker hockey history to begin their college careers at the same time.

The two brothers have found that college life is easier when they have each other to count on. Last year, they had different roommates but lived just down the hall from one another. This year, they chose to live together in a townhouse with two other teammates. This year's arrangement has also been easier for their parents.

"Being in the same place as my brother makes everything a lot easier for my family," said Mark, who is actually a year younger than Mike. "They can call and talk to us both at the same time. It is also a lot easier for my parents and the rest of my family because they can come out and watch both of us play at the same time instead of having to watch two different teams. It was great coming to college where I didn't know anyone and having my brother here with me."

This is not the first time that the Adameks have played on the same team. They frequently played together when they were younger. Mike moved to Grand Rapids to play junior hockey for the Bearcats. Mark finished his last season of Midget AAA in Vail, Colo., then went to Grand Rapids to play a year of juniors with Mike. After their team was relocated to Lansing, Mike went to Chicago and Mark moved to Rochester.

Mark and Mike continued to find themselves playing on the same team without looking to do so.

"We were not looking to go to college together," Mike said. "It just happened that way. It always seems to just happen. The only time we consciously chose to play together was Mark's rookie season in Grand Rapids. After Grand Rapids we went our separate ways. After playing in Chicago, I went to St. Louis. We needed another defensemen, and they asked me if I knew anyone that I thought they should look at. I suggested Mark."

After playing in St. Louis for a year, the brothers found themselves moving once again. Their North American Hockey League team was relocated to Springfield, Mo., then to Springfield, Ill.

"While playing for Springfield, Lake State started recruiting Mark," Mike said. "They came and watched us when we played against Compuware. They saw me play and invited us to visit after playoffs. We both ended up signing together."

After playing together for so long, Mike and Mark Adamek find there are many advantages.

"When we were in juniors together, we were on the ice a lot together," Mark said. "At this level we don't get to play together very much anymore. We have been playing together for 10 years. Still, even in practice if we are on the ice at the same time, I can see where he is, and I will know where he is going."

Being interviewed about playing hockey together is nothing new for the two brothers. Most of their hockey careers they have been hounded with questions about how it feels to play hockey together or about their close friendship. One of the most frequently asked questions regards the curious fact that they are from California and somehow found themselves playing hockey. To Midwesterners, California is the state known for surfing and volleyball.

"Everyone always asks how we started playing hockey because we are from California," Mark said. "My mom's family grew up in Los Angeles and had season tickets to the Los Angeles Kings. They were big fans. Our birthdays are only a year and a week apart so we usually celebrated them at the same time. So when I turned six, and Mike turned seven, my mom took us open skating. After that, we took skating lessons then started playing hockey. When we started there were not a lot of places to play. The closest rink was an hour away. There were probably around 15 rinks in the whole state of California."

People often make the mistake of saying that twins play for Lake Superior State. Because they do have a close resemblance, a common way that friends and teammates will tell them apart is by the hats they wear. Confusion likely occurs when one borrows the other one's hat.

"Everyone thinks that we look alike," Mike said. "A lot of people used to think we were twins. People always get us mixed up. Teachers and people in our classes would think I was Mark or he was Mike. One of our roommates couldn't even tell us apart for a month. Still, some of our teammates will see us from a distance and won't know which one of us we are."

Despite the long distance, Mike and Mark's family make it to many of their games. Because their mother, Cheryl, works for Southwest Airlines, the entire family flies by Southwest for free. They mostly attend road games because the airline does not fly into Sault Ste. Marie.

Mike and Mark also have three younger siblings. The whole family enjoys athletics. Their brother Nick, 18, plays Junior B hockey for the St. Paul Lakers of the Minnesota Junior Hockey League. Kathryn, 16, excels on her high school swim and water polo teams. Lauren, 12, participates in a variety of sports.

Hockey has taken the brothers all over North America and abroad.

"When we were younger we traveled for hockey all of the time," said Mark. "We went to Japan, Canada and all over the United States. There was a big international hockey tournament in Japan. We were 13 and 14 years old. We stayed with housing families that spoke hardly any English. We experienced all of their customs. We wish that we had been a little older to appreciate everything more."

Being from California, one might think that Sault Ste. Marie is a huge change. However, the Adameks have not lived at home during hockey season since they were 15 and 16 years old.

This summer, Mike plans to stay in Sault Ste. Marie, while Mark hopes to live at the family's vacation house in Utah.

"My family owns a house with my aunt in Park City, Utah. My parents, because of my mom's job, are able to fly out there about every other weekend," Mark said. "Park City is where the Sundance Film Festival is, and there is great skiing. We went there this Christmas for about five days. I'm going to live there this summer because there is a rink about 15 minutes away, so I will be able to skate a lot more. My little brother may live there with me, and my parents, aunt, and cousins will be there on weekends."

In his spare time, while not playing hockey, Mike loves to play the guitar and listen to Dave Mathews Band. Mark loves to fish and play golf. Earlier this year, Mark won an intramural golf tournament with his teammate Colin Nicholson.

"Colin Nicholson and I won the tournament earlier this year," Mark said. "There were two other pairs of guys from our (LSSU) team. Steve McJannet and Kory Scoran played together, and Jon Booras paired off with Adrian Kremblewski. There were about 12 teams. Colin is really good at golf. He used to play in golf tournaments when he was younger. I worked at Eagle Ridge golf course this summer, so I was able to golf about four days a week."

Earlier this season, Mike had an impressive 100 percent shooting average after scoring his first goal of the season on his first shot against St. Lawrence on Nov. 1. His excitement was short-lived, as he had an emergency appendectomy the following week.

"Sunday morning I woke up and didn't feel well, and had a really bad stomach ache," Mike said. "It kept getting worse and worse. Monday I saw the trainer, who wanted me to make sure it didn't get worse. Tuesday, I skated for about an hour and ended up going to the hospital for some tests. I was brought in for surgery that night. I was in the hospital for 24 hours. Dr. Paul Rechner performed my surgery."

Impressively, Mike was only off the ice for about 12 days. He missed two series and was in the lineup for the second game against Notre Dame.

Mike and Mark are both really looking forward to this weekend's series against Providence. While in juniors, they played with Providence center Tony Zancanaro for two years for the Springfield Spirit. Tony and Mike were line-mates for two years and still keep in contact.

Lake Superior State Men's Ice Hockey
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