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Schlehuber, Ryan 0216

HIT THE LINE HARD: What’s wrong with second favorites?

I have been a fan of all the Detroit pro sports teams all my life. But I also have second favorites. For some reason, that doesn’t sit well with others. I remember the very day I became a New England Patriots fan … are you done gasping? Ok. So, as I was saying, I remember the day I became a New England Patriots fan. It was the 1985-86 Super Bowl. If you can’t recall, they were thumped by the Chicago Bears 46-10.

Cedar Rock Sports Plex in Cedar Rock is offereing a free program to young children who are interested in learning the sport of hockey. The program is at 6 p.m. Saturday. (Courtesy photo)

Free program offers hockey lessons to youths

James Hodge has loved the sport of hockey since he was 7 years old. Now he’s getting the chance to love the sport through his two sons.

Hodge, of Greenville, has played many levels of hockey during his life, including collegiate. And now that his sons, Zander, 5, and Conner, 4, are old enough to strap on a pair of ice skates, Hodge has introduced them to the sport he loves through a free program called “Try Hockey for FREE,” offered at the Cedar Rock Sports Plex.

Tri County sophomore Summer Longstreet earned her personal record time of 19:45.8 at regionals this year. (File photo)

GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY RUNNER OF THE YEAR: Summer Longstreet, Tri County

As only a sophomore, Summer Longstreet is making her mark in Tri County’s cross country sport. Having already set a new school record for fastest ninth and 10th grade female 5K runner, Longstreet’s expectations for the next few years may not have a ceiling.

Belding’s Summer Eubank, far left, attacks between Central Montcalm’s Libby Ledford, middle, and Kenzie Rutz during the finals of the Daily News Volleyball Invitational Saturday. (Daily News | Chip Burch)

Hornets start season off winning Daily News Invitational crown

Central Montcalm’s volleyball team found a good way to start its season Saturday. The Green Hornets won the Daily News Volleyball Tournament, beating the host Belding Redskins in three games in the championship game to win.

Daily News sports editor Ryan Schlehuber

No time to waste: ‘Hit the line hard’ as new sports editor

Here it’s my first week as Daily News sports editor, and I’m already playing from behind.

Having accepted the new position on Monday, transitioning from features editor and filling the vacancy left by my dear friend and longtime and much-respected Sports Editor Bruce Bentley, I’ve had to “hit the line hard” and catch up with teams, local athletic directors and coaches as high school fall sports season is already upon us.

Greenville’s Justin Zimmer will begin rookie minicamp with the Buffalo Bills on Friday. Zimmer was signed by the Bills following the completion of the NFL draft on Saturday. - File photo collage by Cory Smith

Greenville graduate Justin Zimmer signs with Buffalo Bills

The Buffalo Bills have gained a whole new fan base in West Michigan. While Justin Zimmer, a 2011 Greenville High School graduate, did not hear his name called during the three days of the NFL draft, he was quickly signed to a free agent contract following the draft by the Buffalo Bills on Saturday. A dominating defensive tackle from Ferris State University, Zimmer realized his childhood dream of playing in the NFL with the signing.

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Chip’s Clips: Where the Red Wings go from here

After another playoff disappointment, the Detroit Red Wings have some work to do to get back to being a contender for the Stanley Cup. Sure, the Wings have made the playoffs for 25 years. But in the past few years, it’s been a struggle to get there. In order to make it 26 straight and do some damage, the Wings will have to make a lot of changes.

Greenville graduate Justin Zimmer trains for the NFL draft at Michael Johnson Performance in Texas in February. - Courtesy photo/Larry Zimmer

NFL prospect Justin Zimmer ready for draft

The NFL draft, a three-day extravaganza, begins in less than two weeks. For Greenville graduate Justin Zimmer, an NFL defensive lineman prospect from Ferris State University, it’s down to a waiting game: Waiting to find out if he will be drafted, and, if not, signed as a free agent following the draft. After training for three months in Texas, Zimmer is back home in Michigan and working out at Ferris State in preparation for the draft and a potential NFL minicamp.

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West Michigan falls 5-3 in frigid home opener

What a difference a change of venue and better weather conditions can make. The West Michigan Whitecaps went from blowing snow in South Bend, Ind., — where they won two games — to a sunny, but cold day Saturday where they lost to the South Bend Cubs 5-3 in the Whitecaps’ home opener. The game-time temperature for the home opener was 35 degrees, which was the second-coldest home opener in Whitecaps’ history. It was 34 degrees in 2003.

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CHIP’S CLIPS: The best and worst of Super Bowl 50

So the old man goes out on top. Super Bowl 50 will likely go down as Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning’s swan song, and he will be going out a winner — even if brother Eli wasn’t all that thrilled about big brother getting his second title. It will also go down as a defensive clinic by the Broncos, showing defense is still possible in a league that is outlawing defense little by little.