Michaels & Smolak has several connections with the Auburn Maroons hockey team: (1) We are financial & broadcast supporters; (2) our law partner Dave Kalabanka is the father of goalie Jack Kalabanka; and (3) we love to win in Court just like the Maroons love to win on the ice!
And now we have even another reason to be proud of “our boys”: On Monday evening, at the Onondaga County War Memorial, Auburn defeated Clinton Warriors 5-1 to take the Division II section 3 final. Among the hundreds of exuberant Auburn players and fans who filled the ice in pan-demonic celebration were M&S partners Dave Kalabanka (proud father!) and Jan Smolak (proud supporter!).
“I’m just ecstatic to see this team make it this far” said Dave Kalabanka. “I have followed these kids for years. I know their capabilities. There is so much potential to be harnessed. I don’t think they realize just how good they can be with the right focus. They are a great bunch of kids. They are everything we want our kids to be: Hard-working, dedicated, spirited, respectful of each other, and with a never-give-up attitude. They so deserve this win!”
Jan Smolak, another M&S law partner, and former net-minder for the Maroons (1977-1979), could not be prouder of this team and Jack. “The coach of this winning team always says ‘we just hang in there and eventually we score goals’”. They hang in there because of Jack. He makes save after save until they get rolling. He keeps them in every game. So impressive. Are you kidding me, 38 saves? I know how hard that is.” Smolak added, “It takes teamwork to win. So while Jack is my MVP (ok, a little bias towards goalies) hockey is such a team sport they all deserve high praise. It doesn’t hurt to have the two top scorers in Section 3, Morin and Malandruccolo, on the team. They played and won as a team. Now on to States. Go Maroons.”
The Maroons hope to fire up the ice once again this Saturday in their bid against the Ogdensburg Free Academy, the Section X Champion, for a spot in the State Finals. Michaels & Smolak will be there. “I’m excited, and of course nervous also for them”, said Dave Kalabanka. “It’s a lot of pressure for young athletes to experience. But it’s a great life’s lesson that will take them well beyond hockey. At Michaels & Smolak, we are used to that kind of pressure in the Courtroom where the stakes are high. But no matter what happens, this is great training for these kids. Learning how to do your best under pressure, what a great lesson to learn early!”
Luck is where preparedness meets opportunity. In the Courtroom and on the ice. The Maroons are capable of charting their own course. Every single one of these kids has made the team what it is. They are all winners. As for Kalabanka and Smolak, they make the same prediction for Saturday, which will come as no surprise: “It’ll be the Maroons, Maroons, Maroons!!!!!!”