Friday, August 18, 2006

Generals re-sign Jason Selleke

By Brendan Savage
The Flint Journal

Al Sims and Kevin Kerr are looking for the same thing as they begin rebuilding the Flint Generals.

Both want players who compete every shift, hate to lose and reflect Flint's blue-collar image.

So it's little wonder that gritty forward Jason Selleke is the first player to be signed by the new regime. Generals fans who watched Selleke the past two seasons know he's the type of player Kerr and Sims are after.

"He's a heart-and-soul type player," said Sims, the club's new director of hockey operations. "Win or lose, you get the same effort every night."

Nobody knows that better than Kerr, the new head coach who was one of Selleke's teammates two years ago, when Kerr spent part of his final season with the Generals before retiring as the all-time leading goal-scorer in modern minor-league history.

"Slick is a great guy, a good character guy, good in the locker room, a good team guy," Kerr said. "He's a guy that will buy into whatever system we'll play. He just loves to play.

"I want guys that are committed to playing, guys that are committed to winning, guys that care. I want guys that are hard-working, dedicated guys that get (ticked) off when we lose. He's one of those guys. Those are guys that win championships."

Selleke, a six-year veteran who grew up in the Detroit area and played at Ohio State, has spent most of the past two seasons in Flint. He enjoyed perhaps his best pro campaign last season, finishing fifth on the team in scoring despite frequently being used in a checking role.

In 73 games, Selleke scored 20 goals while posting career-high totals of 51 points and 236 penalty minutes. He led the team in PIM and his minus-1 rating was the best among Generals who spent the entire season with the team.

"Maybe he deserves an opportunity to play on the second line or with guys who can put the puck in the net," Kerr said. "He's the type of guy that will go hard to the net. Look at the way the game is played in the NHL. It's attacking the net, going hard to the net.

"I want guys who are going to pay the price to score goals, go to the net hard, crash the net. He fits that mold. I'm very excited to have him signed."

The Generals have also hired veteran broadcaster Ned Bowden to be their play-by-play voice and director of public relations.

Bowden has 14 years of experience calling minor-league hockey and baseball. His most recent job was with Wheeling (W. Va.) of the ECHL, where he called games for five years before sitting out last season because of personal reasons.

"I'm excited to be involved in hockey again," said Bowden, 36. "It sounds like they're in the process of getting the organization going in the right direction and I'm excited to be part of it.

"You name it and I've done it - P.R., media relations, sales. I was kind of a second-hand man to the coach (in Wheeling). We didn't have an assistant coach so I handled some of the paperwork. I'm sure there are several differences between leagues, but hockey is hockey."

Bowden will be traveling to Flint from his home in St. Louis this weekend and is expected to begin his duties with the Generals on Monday.


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