Marty Sertich values family

DAVID RAMSEY Gazette Sports columnist Updated: March 25, 2006 at 12:00 am • Published: March 25, 2006
GREEN BAY, Wis. - All those goals, all those victories. For Marty Sertich, Colorado College hockey history blends with his own family yesterdays. Sertich, a 5-foot-8 senior, arrived at CC four years ago with an encyclopedic knowledge of the team’s history. He listened to his grandfather, Tony Frasca, remember March 18, 1950, a wild night when the Tigers danced away with the NCAA title at the Broadmoor Ice Palace. Frasca scored the Tigers’ 13th — and final — goal in a rout over Boston University. Sertich listened to his father, Steve, remember the lean years from 1970 to 1975. Steve towered as the team’s star, scoring 75 goals for teams that never earned a winning record. Marty wears the same colors that once adorned his grandfather’s and his father’s jerseys. Sometimes, when Marty skates toward the net, he imagines what his father might try in the same situation. All this history never has burdened him, Sertich said Friday. He was happy to take a break from today for a brief trip to yesterday. When Sertich’s teammates walk into the players lounge at World Arena, they see a wall covered with nameless images from CC’s past. When Sertich looks around the room, he sees smiling, familiar faces. He sees his family. “Every time I walk into the room, I get the chills,” Sertich said. “Every time.” Today, he has a chance to keep his own CC career breathing. If Sertich and his Tigers beat Cornell in the NCAA Midwest Regional, they will survive to play in Sunday’s final. If Sertich loses, his career becomes history. He has a chance to elevate the final chapter. In the latter months of 2005, Sertich and the Tigers played a dominating brand of hockey, but the early months of 2006 find these Tigers muddling in mediocrity. They’ve lost nine of their past 17 games. They took a quick, and humiliating, exit from the Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs. A loss to Cornell would complete the tumble from the hockey heights. A win would offer the Tigers a chance to grab, in wing Joey Crabb’s words, “our full potential.” The Tigers need Sertich to reach back to his own yesterdays. A year ago, Sertich reigned as college hockey’s best player. He won the Hobey Baker Award, hockey’s version of the Heisman Trophy. He led the Tigers to the Frozen Four. This season? Sertich has been good, but not great. He’s scored 14 goals, just over half of last season’s 27. He’s barely been visible in the past four games, collecting two assists. Here’s the good news. The dominating player from last season didn’t vanish. Sertich retains all the tools — the allseeing eyes, the quickness, the shooting accuracy — to seize control of this regional. And he knows enough about CC hockey history to realize the chapters that really matter are composed in the NCAA Tournament. If the Tigers can find a way to emerge from the regional with two victories, they will regain the adoration of their fans. “Oh, yeah,” Sertich said when thinking about the possibilities that beckon to the Tigers. “This weekend gives us a second chance.” This revival will be rugged. If the Tigers defeat Cornell, and All-American goaltender David McKee, they probably will be rewarded — if that’s the right word — with a game Sunday against Wisconsin. The Badgers would be blessed with the shouting support of thousands of fans. It’s a breezy 90-minute drive through the countryside from Wisconsin’s campus to Green Bay’s Resch Center. Still, sports isn’t just about the present tense. Sertich can call on his own blessings. He can find fuel from those stories from his school’s — and his family’s — hockey history. Columnist David Ramsey can be reached at 476-4895 or david.ramsey@gazette.com
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