Hockeytown hotbed

May 20, 2014

There is no end to the hockey season for Dan Vasquez.

Vasquez, who is the coach-general manager of the Detroit Fighting Irish of the Midwest Jr. Hockey League, is a busy guy on a number of fronts.

Vasquez, who has been with the Fighting Irish since it and the MWJHL came into existence in 2012, has decided to return to the Detroit bench in 2014-2015 after being GM only in 2013-2014.

And besides finalizing his hockey staff for 2014-2015, Vasquez is also arranging open tryouts for the Fighting Irish as well as setting up a summer league that the team will oversee.

All of this while working under new ownership.

A coaching veteran of some 34 years, the affable Vasquez spoke of his passion for hockey in the Detroit area during a recent telephone conversation with

“The teaching and the development part is what I love most about the game,” Vasquez told me. “Junior hockey is the next step towards college hockey for so many players and to be part of the process to try to get them there is what makes all of this worthwhile.

“Hockey is not a job to me,” Vasquez continued. “It’s more of a way of life. And to be able to do it in Detroit, a place that I love and where I am from, makes it all that much better.”


Veteran coach Peter Flynn will return as an assistant coach for the 2014-2015 season and serve as Vasquez’s top aide in the Fighting Irish hockey department.

New to the program will be Adam Kuhn as skills development coach and veteran warhorse Bob Brown as scout.


The Fighting Irish will be holding open tryouts next week followed by a junior-college summer league.

The open tryouts will be held Wednesday May 28, Thursday May 29 and Friday May 30 from 6-10 p.m. all three nights at Ice Box Sports Center in Brownstown, which is a suburb of Metro Detroit.

The tryouts are open to all players born in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1998.

As for the junior-college summer league, games will be played on Sunday nights from June 1 until August 10 at the Ice Box Sports Center.

The league will be open to players born in 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1998.

Players will skate in two games every Sunday and there will be a maximum of 13 players per team.

Teams will be balanced by way of age, experience and skill level.

Registration is via the new website of the Fighting Irish.


As was earlier reported by, the Fighting Irish recently introduced new ownership.

Lisa Cruz, a resident of the Downriver Detroit area, has purchased the Fighting Irish franchise and will operate it with her husband, Mark Cruz.

The acquisition was approved by the MWJHL Board of Governors.

The Fighting Irish, which has been a part of the MWJHL since its formation in 2012, will continue to play its home games at the Ice Box Sports Center in Brownstown.

What you think about “Hockeytown hotbed”

  1. Great Article Randy and nice reconition of Coach Dan!
    The Fighting Irish are such a big part of the Downriver area hockey communitey and it is nice to see this coverage of the DFI.

  2. Dan is an excellent coach and even better person. He works tirelessly to help develop and advance players to higher levels of play.

  3. Gpa: So true.
    We are fortunite to have a man like Coach Dan running our Junior Hockey Program in our Area.

    Randy: It seems that u know of Bob Brown? Brownie is a good man & a good citizen!

  4. As a BIG BIG fan of this league I wish to thank you Mr. Russon for your many articles about the ‘Detroit Fighting Irish’ of the Mid West Junior League. I am hoping to read many more of these . Thanx you very much from Wyandotte Michigan!

  5. Coach Vasquez is and always has been a “class act” in my books. This is a gentleman who truly cares for his players and who works on there behalf.

  6. Hi Randy:I have been reading your stuff on HOCKEY WEEKLY for at least 20 Yrs now and I want to tell you what a fabulus professional site that you have here. You do a great job in covering so many Teams in so many League’s both here and in Canada. As a supporter of the “Detroit Fighting Irish” I want to say “Good Job Randy”!!!

  7. When Coach Dan Vasquez talked to me 3 years ago about his goal for the kids I bought into it quickly. And today my son has benefited from it, he starts his college career and playing hockey in the fall — a great coach is Dan and I am glad he found my son.

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