MiHockey’s annual ’50 Most Influential People in Michigan Hockey’

The following 50 people are the hockey players, coaches, administrators, organizers, owners and activists that we deem most crucial to the growth and preservation of our sport in our state. These people influence policy, influence children and influence fans. They are the ones that make things happen, that motivate others to help grow the game.

Because this is such a unique list – a compilation of various positions at different levels of hockey – we decided it would be best to simply organize them in alphabetical order. While one person on the list may be perceived to have a larger reach or impact, all of these people affect our game a great deal, and a numerical scale doesn’t seem to do it justice.

Disagree with the list? It’s kind of the point. Tell us why, we would love to hear from you. Comment below, tweet at us, comment on our Facebook page or send us an email at mh@mihockeynow.com.

Justin Abdelkader is one of the role models for hockey players growing up in Michigan. (Tom Turrill/MiHockey)

Justin Abdelkader

Abdelkader is the only Red Wing we kept on the list, due to him being a Muskegon native, a Michigan State alum, and a player who has been out in the community during the lockout.

Tom Anastos

Rebuilding a traditional powerhouse in East Lansing is Anastos’ current project. The Spartans’ head coach and former CCHA commissioner has played an important role in the growth of both college and youth hockey across the state, and now he aims to bring MSU back to national prominence.

George Atkinson

The president of the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association leads hockey at the grassroots level in Michigan. Atkinson has continued to guide Michigan’s youth hockey programs through major changes with the American Development Model.

Mike Bayoff

The director of strategic hockey alliances for the Detroit Red Wings, Bayoff has long served as the connection between Hockeytown and the rest of the hockey levels in our state.

Brian Beaufait

As the new director of Little Caesars Amateur Sports, Beaufait is working with both the Little Caesars Amateur Hockey League, and the Little Caesars AAA hockey program.

Brian Bellgraph

Bellgraph is an active member of the Meijer State Games, which gathers some of the top talent from Michigan for a tournament on the west side of the state. He also is the head coach of Grand Rapids Public – rebuilding a inner-city hockey program.

Red Berenson continues to be one of the top minds in hockey. (MiHockey archives)

Red Berenson

Berenson continues to run the legendary University of Michigan hockey program with no signs of slowing down after signing an extension this summer. One of the top coaches in all of sports brings top-tier talent to the Wolverines every year. Berenson is one of the most prominent figures in all of college hockey.

Terry Bishop

Bishop is the president of the Oakland Junior Grizzlies hockey club, one of the fastest growing programs in the state.

Jeff Blashill

In the midst of an NHL lockout, the Sault Ste. Marie native is now the bench boss for the top team in Michigan. With his rapid ascent up the coaching ladder, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Blashill in charge of a NHL team soon.

Gordon Bowman/Jack Witt

The MAHA VP of coaching and Michigan’s coaching program director play a crucial role in helping develop coaches of all age levels in the state.

Bill Burns

Burns directs the Michigan Development Hockey League, designed to highlight the top high school hockey talent Michigan has to offer throughout the year.

Danton Cole

The Pontiac native and former Michigan State Spartan is one of the two head coaches of the National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, in charge of grooming some of the best young talent in the country.

Rick Comley Jr.

Comley, the son of the former Northern Michigan and Michigan State coach, is the director of scouting for the USHL. Comley serves as the league’s top scout, going from coast to coast to find top talent for the growing junior league.

James Cosgrove

MAHA’s executive vice president also serves as the chairperson for the rules committee, which is always a hot topic in the state’s youth hockey scene.

Bob Daniels is proving you can have a top-tier hockey program anywhere in Michigan. (Michael Caples/MiHockey)

Bob Daniels

The man in charge of the NCAA finalist Bulldogs is reminding people that Big Rapids is a destination for top talent in college hockey.

Ron DeGregorio

The president of USA Hockey visits the hockey hotbed of Michigan often, and his organization dictates much of how hockey is played and perceived in our state and beyond.

Joe Emery

The new commissioner of the High Performance Hockey League is no stranger to running big programs; he was already the commish of the Little Caesar’s Amateur Hockey League, overseeing the largest league in the state.

Craig Goslin

The co-owner of the Saginaw Spirit has built his club into a factor in the OHL, despite playing in a league dominated by Canadian squads.

Greg Hammaren

One of the top execs at Fox Sports Detroit, Hammaren plays a crucial role on what hockey is seen in our state, and how often we get to see it – especially important during an NHL lockout.

Ron Hayes

The long-time MAHA leader has worked with the Detroit Red Wings to help grow the game with Try Hockey For Free clinics.

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