News Ed Moran column: Primeau is loving his new life in hockey
Mar. 12, 2007--ANYONE WHO HAS has
been to a Bishop
Eustace Prep hockey game is
familiar with head coach Mike Green and his "special assistant,"
What's striking is the difference
in size. Green isn't the shortest guy on the planet, and while Primeau isn't the
tallest, he still stands a head above Green, and that's with Green standing on
the bench and Primeau on the floor.
Well, maybe that's stretching the
truth a little, but just a little.
But where the two men differ in
height, they are equals in what they bring to the game. Green never played at
the level Primeau did, but he played minor hockey in
and attended a
prep school.His older brother, Mark, played junior hockey in
Any fan of hockey knows what
Primeau, a two-time All-Star, brought to the Flyers before repeated concussions
forced him out of the pros.
I'm careful not to say out of the
game because where Primeau has ended up is a good place for him. He is close to
his roots in
minor hockey, and he coaches his
son Corey in his senior year.
More important, he has found a
way to stay involved in his life's passion.
"I'm at a tournament right now,"
he said via telephone yesterday. "And I am really pumped."
It's so good to hear the
enthusiasm in his voice again.
Like Primeau, Green exudes a
passion for hockey just as he does for soccer. He also coaches
Haddon Township's boys' team.
He's a skilled coach, but what makes him special is he cares.
And so does Primeau.
When Primeau left the Flyers, he
teamed with Green and his life became consumed again with hockey and the passion
that made him a dominant force in the
The result of this is a complete
immersion for Primeau in local minor hockey, and, with Green, he is now on a
mission to make New Jersey
a place where special players are developed.
That's not to say it hasn't
happened before. Bobby Ryan, the 2005 second pick overall behind Sidney Crosby,
is from Cherry Hill. Bobby
Sanguinetti, 21st overall in 2006 by the Rangers, is from
Both left the area to play junior
hockey in Canada. While
they are exceptions, there are a lot of quality players who have come from or
now live in the Philadelphia-South Jersey area.
But the feeling here is that the
hockey isn't competitive enough to draw attention from college or professional
scouts. Kids have to leave home for either a junior team or a prep school in New
England or in the Midwest.
Primeau wouldn't necessarily
argue that; neither would Green. But they want to change that perception, and
want to reward players who stay behind and play for their local club and high
So they have started their own
senior all-star game, and have called in a few dozen chips to pack the rink with
scouts. The Flyers will be there, Canadian junior scouts will be there, and
college scouts will be there. They're calling it the New Jersey Scholastic
All-Star Senior Game, and it will be held at
5 p.m. Sunday at the Vineland Ice
Arena, which Primeau hopes will be packed with spectators.
"This is my new project," said
Primeau, who also runs a hockey school and a Tier Two junior team in
Canada. "The motivation for both
of us was, we've seen so many of the good players in the state leave to play
junior or go off to a college prep school because they're being told this is
what they have to do, but we're trying to show them there is an alternative.
"We want to keep these kids here
and help build hockey in and around the state of New
We want to change the impression of high school hockey around here being the
"We want to put
ourselves on the map as a region so that we can keep and develop these players
and put them in a situation where they can be rewarded for staying here and get
the exposure they need to take the next step."