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Blueline bloodlines

By Kyle Kensing
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, October 22, 2004
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Pelletier brothers look to unify Icecats in 2004

A skilled and tenacious defenseman can give opposing coaches headaches.

Two can ensure a very good year for Procter & Gamble stockholders.

The Arizona Icecats hockey team has its own migraine-inducing tandem in brothers D.J. and Mike Pelletier, two keys to UA's attempt at a return to national prominence this season.

It's not hard to see why Icecats head coach Leo Golembiewski has tagged the 6-foot-1 D.J. and 6-foot-2 Mike as his unofficial team leaders for the 2004-05 campaign. They were born hockey players, and their attitudes embody the Icecats' motto, "One team, one goal."

"(Hockey) was definitely something everyone did growing up (in Massachusetts)," Mike said.

"Other sports got old, like baseball," D.J. added. "But hockey never gets old."

Both 24-year-old D.J. and 22-year-old Mike have been lacing skates since they were four. However, Monday's season opener against Arizona State will be one of the first times the brothers have played alongside one another in competition.

D.J. said their age difference kept them from being able to play together as children.

After high school, it would be another three years before the Pelletiers would join each other in action.

D.J. originally went to college in Rhode Island. One year later, Mike departed for Division III St. Michael's in Vermont.

Meanwhile, their family left Massachusetts for Tucson, something Mike and D.J. agree was a major factor in their transfers to Arizona.

Mike first joined Golembiewski's successful program in 2003. D.J., however, was not on the team.

"D.J. watched Mike play, and he missed the game, just being there in the (Tucson Convention Center)" Golembiewski said.

With the Pelletiers finally together and joining fellow returning defenseman Keith Mitchell, the Icecats have an imposing presence on that side of the blue line.

Golembiewski said Mike is the best offensive defenseman in UA history, and together, the brothers are the type of people he wants leading his team on the ice.

"They're hockey players, they're not people who play hockey," he said.

D.J. and Mike look forward to taking on roles as leaders, especially after last season's program-worst 11-14-2 finish, a mark Golembiewski partially attributes to a lack of leadership.

"We get to see different perspectives," D.J. said. "Two leaders are definitely better than just one."

"We're looking forward to changing the worst year in Icecats' history, changing the attitude of the team," Mike added.

"We want to be successful for Coach," he said.

"Their make-up as people didn't take a lot to persuade me," Golembiewski said of his decision to make the Pelletiers team leaders.

And while D.J. and Mike are doing everything in their power on the ice to lead UA back to a winning record and national tournament berth, Golembiewski said their contributions outside the rink are equally important to the team's success.

"They bring a lot on and off the ice. They're good representatives of the program," he said. "I'm really proud of those guys."

With a promising season on the horizon, D.J. and Mike Pelletier should give Golembiewski, and Icecat fans a lot more to be proud of.

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