Former Michigan hockey captain Luke Glendening saw early success in the minor leagues after being a crucial piece to winning a Calder Cup for the Detroit Red Wing’s AHL affiliate Grand Rapids Griffins after only joining the team in December.
Now signed to a one-year, two-way contract, Glendening is back with Grand Rapids to try and see the same results as the year prior.
Glendening took some time to speak to me briefly about his time at the University of Michigan and his past season in Grand Rapids.
JH: Talk about your time with the University of Michigan. What was it about the hockey program that you fell in love with? Also, what does it mean to be a captain for the University of Michigan?
Glendending: I think the history of the program is what drove me here. You walk into Yost and you see pictures of players that have been here before you and you talk to a coach who is so renown in the hockey world, that kind of all draws you in. You get to see a game there for the first time and that’s when you know for sure.
As far as being a captain goes, I thought it was very humbling that the coaches trusted me to be a captain for two years.
JH: When thinking of Michigan coaches, a lot of people automatically refer to Bo Schembechler and many seem to forget about what Red Berenson means to the Michigan hockey program. When his career is over, do you think his name should be included in the “Holy Grail” of Michigan coaches such as Schembechler, Crisler, etc.? Also, what is it about Red Berenson that makes him so important to the program?
Glendening: Yes, I think his name will definitely be mentioned with those names as the best to ever coach at Michigan. The thing about Red is that he’s not just in it for the hockey, and not just in it to see his players be good at hockey. He wants his players to be good citizens and good people outside of hockey. That usually makes a big difference and he’s just somebody you want to play for.
JH: You obviously joined the Grand Rapids Griffins in the December. I read something interesting lately that you were the first player from the Grand Rapids area to play for the Griffins. What does that mean to you when you first found that out?
Glendending: I honestly had no idea. You had a guy like Justin Abdelkader who’s from Muskegon which is close, but it’s pretty neat to be able to play in front of your family and friends.
JH: You recently re-signed with the Griffins this offseason. What are your goals for this upcoming season?
Glendening: I just want to go to camp in shape. Just put my best foot forward and see what happens. I have a lot of expectations for myself and I expect a lot out of myself. I am going to go out there and do my best.
JH: Talk about your run to the Calder Cup. It seemed to me that the Griffins caught fire after the Wings were eliminated from the playoffs.
Glendening: It was a lot of fun. It’s different playing 100 games compared to playing 40 when I was at the University of Michigan. Obviously when the Wings lost we got a couple of guys back that helped us with the run to the Cup. I had a lot of fun winning and hope to do it again this year.
JH: Do you still follow Michigan hockey? What do you expect from the team this season?
Glendening: I still follow them very closely. Whenever I have an off day I try to catch a game of theirs and try to read articles about the team. I know this senior class is trying to have a good year and they have some solid leadership, so I think they will see some success.