Disclaimer: All opinions expressed in this article are solely those of Matt Carey and do not reflect the opinions of Wisconsin Prep Hockey or its partners.
Orion’s Belt is the name of three bright stars that are grouped closely together. The Madison Edgewood Crusaders had three bright star goalies during a time span of 1989 to 1997. The goalies were born two years apart (’74, ’76, ’78), and each went on to play NCAA D-1 and professionally. Let’s meet the trio of former Madison Edgewood goalies that form Crusaders Belt.
Share your experience at Edgewood: I played three seasons at Edgewood. Playing on a team with guys I went to school with and having fans from school was awesome. As a freshman it was beneficial for me because I stepped into a situation where our team was good. We had strong senior leaders that year and it helped me for hockey, but also in school. Looking back, Edgewood was very good for my development as a player and student. I almost went to West, but J.P. McKersie was a great goalie and already at West, so my opportunity was at Edgewood.
Where did you play juniors: I went to Sioux City in the USHL for my senior year of high school and played for Dave Lohrei. Dave was a great guy and very helpful. After one season in the USHL I went to Canada to play in the BCHL. We won the Canadian national championship and following that season I was drafted in the NHL by Vancouver.
Where did you play after juniors: I played four seasons for Northern Michigan. We struggled a little bit during those years but playing on a team with guys you go to school with and fans from school was a positive experience. After college hockey I started at the bottom of pro hockey and worked my way up. My Houston Aeros team won a Calder Cup and that’s something I will never forget. I was drafted by Vancouver but never played in their organization. In the NHL, most of my games were with Tampa, but I also played for Minnesota Wild.
What was it like playing pro hockey: The elite shooters in NHL are precise, if you give them an inch they can score. Joe Sakic’s release was like nothing I had seen before! My goalie coach in Islanders organization was Billy Smith. I also had Francois Allaire as a goalie coach, and he changed my perspective on how to play the position. I learned so much from those coaches. Allaire’s drills were simplistic, meaning I didn’t have to think and simply react, which allowed me to work on technique and build confidence in a particular skill.
Dieter Kochan is currently a K-9 handler for Michigan State Patrol. Dieter has two police dogs, one for narcotics and the other for explosives. In addition to his career in law enforcement, Dieter has served as goalie coach for Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan.
Memories from Edgewood: I was new to Edgewood as a junior. Steve Rothering, Joel Maturi, and several other teachers went out of their way to make me feel welcome. Our family lived out in the country and my teammate Alex Hohlstein lived in the same area. I have great memories traveling to and from school with Alex listening to Grateful Dead CD’s.
Moments that stand out: I was having a bad game against Middleton and we were losing 0-3 with less than four minutes remaining in regulation. Zenon Kochan scored to make it 1-3 and Coach Keryluk pulled me for an extra attacker. Brian Dooley and Shannon Abel scored while I was on the bench and Tim Rothering scored in OT to win, 4-3.
Championships at Edgewood: Our team finished the 1992/93 regular season as co-champs of the IHSHL, and then won the 1993 WISAA state championship.
Who were your coaches: Ken Keryluk was head coach, Steve Rothering was assistant coach and a history teacher. Mike Calouri was goalie coach.
What impact did goalie coach Mike Calouri have on you: Coach Calouri was innovative and ahead of his time. He developed a training device called TruAngle, which he later patented, to visually represent puck trajectory and help goalies better understand angles and positioning. Coach Calouri was passionate about goaltending. He always found the perfect balance of creating a fun environment and challenging drills for goalie partner Jason Rohde and me. Coach Calouri passed away at age 55 on May 24, 2007.
Final thoughts to share with HS players regarding the journey to juniors and college: Everyone’s journey is different. Work hard in school and on the ice and take pride in being a good teammate and building relationships along the way.
Forrest Karr is currently the Director of Athletics at University of Minnesota, Duluth. Forrest has been a leader in collegiate athletics administration for over 20 years.
Memories of playing high school hockey: Playing for Edgewood was an incredible experience, we won three consecutive league and state championships. One highlight that stands out was winning the state championship as a freshman…contributing to the success of the upperclassmen was a gratifying feeling.
Coaching influences: I had the privilege of being coached by Ken Keryluk and Steve Rothering. I also had the benefit of a great goalie coach, Mike Calouri. Mike played a crucial role in shaping my development. His dedication and push for me to reach my potential were instrumental. He wasn’t just a coach but a friend. I also learned a lot from Dieter Kochan and his dad, Bob Kochan. They provided insights into the intricacies like angles, skating, positioning, rebound control, and the mental side of the game.
Reflect on the journey from high school to juniors, college and pro hockey: I attribute much of my success to the unwavering support of my parents. Their dedication and encouragement were pivotal in helping me throughout my career. Their mentorship and belief in my abilities were critical factors in my growth. Additionally, the strong camaraderie with my teammates, who became like a second family, played a significant role in shaping my journey.
Jeff Sanger is currently an agency development manager for Wisconsin Financial Group in Madison. Jeff also served as goalie coach for Wisconsin Badgers from 2009 to 2018.
It’s as rare as hen’s teeth for a Wisconsin high school program to have multiple goalies play professionally. Yet Madison Edgewood can boast three of their former goalies played professional hockey. Dieter Kochan, Forrest Karr and Jeff Sanger were special players that are commended for their accomplishments!
Yours for hockey, Matt Carey