Archive for May, 2011

If you’re interested in watching a new drama, check out “Justified” on FX. Season 2 just ended, but you can find the entire first season on Netflix or at the local video store (if any are still open in your area.) The series follows the adventures of Federal Marshall Rayland Givens, played by Timothy Olyphant. If you are thinking, “oh God, not another cop show,” don’t worry. I’m just as jaded from the glut of cop dramas out there on TV as anybody, and I really enjoy this show. (How many “Law and Orders” do we need, anyway?)

This show stands out because it is more about character and story than police procedures and solving cases. The cast and their interrelationships with each other are the real story of “Justified.” Olyphant portrays the main character with depth and personality in a realistic and empathetic way – warts and all. His surrounding cast is similarly talented, and creates a coherent and smartly acted experience for the viewer. You care about these characters from week to week, and want to keep watching to see how things turn out. (That’s what makes it great to rent the whole season and watch it in one sitting. Believe me, you won’t be able to stop watching.)

I recommend trying to watch the series from the beginning (Season 1 was last year) on Netflix, or if you are a Comcast subscriber, watch them online. You can also catch them on iTunes for a fee. Then dive into season two on FX via your DVR. You’ll be glad that you did.

HOLLAND, Mich. – Michigan is known for having some of the best youth hockey teams in the country, especially at the Tier I, or AAA level. Little Caesars, Honeybaked Ham, Belle Tire, Compuware, and a host of others are known nationwide for producing highly competitive teams. Unfortunately, west Michigan youth hockey players have had to travel to Detroit or other areas of the state in order to roster on one of these teams because the sunset side of the state lacked its own AAA hockey club. A new hockey program launched recently in Grand Rapids and Holland has changed all of that, however.

The Edge, which owns and operates the Edge Ice Arena in Holland, has purchased an additional facility in Byron Center, south of Grand Rapids. This rink, formerly known as Southside, will host teams at every level, from house and travel (Tier III) to Tier I and II. Both rinks will operate under the name Michigan Nationals. This means that Holland’s highly successful hockey club, the Ice Dogs, will be undergoing a name change for the upcoming 2011-2012 season. Their programs at every level will remain the same, however.

The co-directors for the two hockey programs are Travis Richards (Holland) and Mike Slobodnik (Grand Rapids). Richards was drafted by the Minnesota North Stars in the 1988 Early Entry Draft and played for University of Minnesota as a defenseman from 1989-1993. He was a member of the 1993 USA National Team and played three games in the NHL for the Dallas Stars. Richards played in both the IHL and in the AHL for the Red Wings affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins for several years. With the Griffins, he set a record for games played at 642, and was the first player to have his jersey retired in the history of that hockey club.

A native of Kentwood, Michigan, Slobodnik played Junior A hockey for the Cleveland Barons and four years for Wisconsin at Stevens Point. He is a former assistant coach at East Kentwood High School, coached various other travel clubs, and was the hockey director at Walker Ice Arena, located south of Grand Rapids. Between the two rinks the Edge now operates in Holland and Byron Center, western Michigan youth hockey players of all ages and skill levels will have the opportunity to play and develop under the supervision of an experienced group of staff and coaches.