D-3 power Cranbrook moves to Division I
After 17 state championships in either Class B,C,D or Division 3, the Cranbrook Boys hockey team is stepping up to Division 1 this season.
According to Cranbrook athletic director Steve Graf, the idea to move had been circulating for a few years because of concerns by the Michigan High School Athletic Association and other state Division 3 High School hockey programs had about Cranbrook, a private boarding school in Bloomfield Hills with its own rink.
Voicing the concerns of the Cranes’ competition, Graf repeated an often heard complaint against the program: “They’re a boarding school that’s out there recruiting hockey players.”
So Graf said, in order to placate those concerns, Cranbrook made the move to Division 1 this season.
The Cranes are 4-1-0-0 in 2016-17 overall and 3-0-0-0 in the Michigan Interscholastic Hockey League.
However, according to Cranbrook coach Andy Weidenbach, the school’s number of hockey players is currently at an all-time low. The team had to disband its Junior Varsity team for the first time because there was not enough players after injuries and illnesses. That was even after forming a combined JV team with Clarkston.
That leaves Cranbrook with 20 players – 18 skaters and two goalies.
“This was absolutely the worst year for us to move to Division 1,” Weidenbach said. “But the decision had already been made, so there was nothing you could do about it.”