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Bachsuz family bids farewell to LSSU

Jeremy Bachusz

April 21, 2003

By Linda Bouvet, Sports Information Director

SAULT STE. MARIE - The night belonged to senior Jeremy Bachusz.

Lake Superior State's only senior hockey player received two of the program's highest honors, the Most Valuable Forward and Soo Blue Liner awards, during the 21st annual Soo Blue Liners Banquet held Saturday at the Cisler Center. Later in the evening, Bachusz and his family, which have been a part of Laker Hockey since older brother Mike began playing in 1988, bid a final farewell to LSSU.

During the traditional senior speech, Bachusz told fans and his teammates that he was thankful for the chance to play a part in rebuilding LSSU's hockey program. A return to the status it held when his brother played in the early 1990s is a desire that might not be realized until he is gone for a few years.

"I was very proud to wear the uniform every night," said Bachusz, who was the Lakers' leading scorer this season. "I just want to be remembered as the guy who worked hard every night."

"Last year when everybody was quitting, I asked Jeremy what he wanted to do," LSSU coach Frank Anzalone said. "I told him, 'We might not win. We're not that good yet. But here's what you can do. You can help pave a path that very few guys nowadays want to pave. Everybody wants to win a Stanley Cup Championship, but nobody wants to start at the bottom.'"

"I watched my brother play," Bachusz said. "I watched the national championship games and what he had. He was so proud to be a part of a program like that. When I was a freshman I came in with 10 guys. Now I'm the only senior left, but I don't regret it a bit. I love the game and I love it here."

Bachusz thanked the blue liners for their support, as well as his girlfriend, Becca Johnson, and her parents. He appreciated the support of his parents, Beth and Chris, who struggled through the loss of two parents this winter. Bachusz also remembered the late Ruth Norvell, whom the Lakers honored by wearing "Ruthie" patches this season.

"She touched my heart in many ways and I know she touched a lot of people in here," he said.

Bachusz thanked Dr. Betty Youngblood for attending every home game this season and trainer John Bernal for getting him through a variety of illnesses and injuries.

He also said, "Coach Roque, I don't know if you remember this. I was just a little guy and I had those Reebok pumps on. You asked, 'Do those things walk for you?' It was so cool that you took the time to talk to a 10-year-old.

"Coach Anzalone, there is a lot I could say about you. When the coaching change occurred, I thought 'Oh man, here we go again.'...He made me a better man. He gave me a chance to be a better player and person. I really appreciate that."

Bachusz said he was nervous about being the Lakers' captain this season, but his teammates made it an easy job. His only complaint was that the Lakers many freshmen tended to bombard him with the same questions over and over.

"I know you guys listened," he said. "Although it was a tough season, you made it nice."

According to Anzalone, Mike Bachusz once told his younger brother that Laker Hockey is not an experience that can be adequately explained. It is a feeling that takes over as a player goes through the program.

Jeremy Bachusz will be to the future of Laker Hockey what Dean Dixon, Paul Jerrard and Jim Roque were to the players during Mike Bachusz's era. He didn't leave LSSU with a championship ring, but set an example for the players coming back that embodies the truest meaning of Laker Hockey.

Lake Superior State Men's Ice Hockey
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