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Michigan Ice's NPF Status


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#1
CatOsterFan

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The status of the Michigan Ice as either in or out of the NPF has been up in the air in recent years. For awhile they were not an official NPF team, but I last heard that the Ice were bought out by the NPF and will officially be an NPF team in 2008. Is this still correct?

#2
jlurban

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For those who are unaware of the crazy events of last summer, let me fill you in:

The rumor had been circulating throughout June and July that the Michigan Ice softball team—which had been playing against NPF teams but was not one of the six official NPF franchises—was on the verge of bankruptcy. The NPF Chicago Bandits were scheduled to travel to Midland, Michigan, to play the team in a four-game exhibition series July 25-28, on the Ice's home field at Currie Stadium in Emerson Park.

At that point someone—either within the Bandits organization or the NPF itself—made the decision to send the Chicago Bandits travel softball team, rather than the NPF team, to play the Ice. The Michigan fans were naturally disappointed, as they had expected to see the professional Bandits, not the travel team.

The Ice then traveled to Chicago and played the professional Bandits in a four-game series July 31-August 3, losing all four games. The rumor was that someone, possibly “the NPF” (whatever that means), had purchased the Ice. Backing up this theory was the fact that all four of the Bandits’ victories counted in the official NPF standings, a reversal of the previous policy and a big help to the Bandits who were desperately trying to get back into the playoff race. According to The Softball Channel’s July 31st news story:

[The Bandits] might just need a miracle to qualify for the championship tournament. Fortunately, they may have gotten just that. In a sudden reversal of league policy, victories over the Ice—including today’s—will count in the official NPF standings.

Unfortunately things look bleak for the Ice in 2008, as the team is not listed on the official 2008 NPF schedule which was released today.

#3
SpartanIlliniCub

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The Michigan Ice did not participate in this year's NPF draft, so it looks to me like they are not and will not be a legitimate NPF team for 2008.

#4
jlurban

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Although the Michigan Ice officially folded as an NPF franchise in 2007, six former members of the team continue to play as the Auburn Ice Cubes. Here’s the story from the Midland Daily News website, dated July 10, 2008:

Former Ice players continue to play for love of the game

When the Mid Michigan Ice folded after the 2007 season, Kim Biskup knew she still wanted to play softball.

So the former Ice first baseman decided to start her own team of former Ice players and other area softball players so she could continue to play.

"I have people on my team that mainly have full-time jobs but still want to play fastpitch," Biskup said in an e-mail. "I knew when the Mid Michigan Ice were not coming back that I still wanted to play fastpitch. I am not ready to play slowpitch yet."

Biskup named the team the Auburn Ice Cubes because six players are former members of the Ice—Amanda Jensen, Kerri Jonas, Jenny Mackson, Becky Manson, Meredith Moody and Biskup.

The team recently competed in and won its first tournament, the Mary Ingalls Memorial Women's Tournament in Petoskey from June 27-29. The Ice Cubes will also play in this weekend's Chicago Lightning Tournament in Elgin, Ill.

The trip to Elgin will be the second and final tournament for the Ice Cubes this year, but Biskup hopes to keep the team together.

"It is a great group of players and I hope to continue this team for some summers to come," Biskup said. "But again, being we are all older and working, we are unable to get to lots of tournaments. We would love to have one here in Midland, so who knows, maybe next summer."



#5
Titan09

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Oh wow, this is really cool. I went to a Chicago Bandits game last year and they were playing the Michigan Ice. I did not realize at the time that they were not really an official NPF team. Now that they have folded, some of the players formed the Ice Cubes. My summer team played against them at the Elgin tournament two weekends ago! I think it is really cool that we were playing against some professional players. I had never heard of the Ice Cubes before, so it makes sense that they are a very new team. I noticed right away that they were a very good hitting team. They had several line drive hits deep into the outfield gaps. In addition to being a very good performing team, they were also a very nice team. My summer team plays a lot of the same teams several times during the season and that seems to develop some "not so friendly" rivalries between us and the other teams, so it was a nice change of pace to play a team that we did not have a rivalry with, and that was just a generally nice team.

In addition, I think it is awesome that Biskup started this team. It is too bad that the Michigan Ice folded, and I think a lot of players would just think "oh well, nothing I can do about it," but instead she realized she was not ready to stop playing fastpitch and did something about it. I hope to see the Ice Cubes at a tournament next summer!

#6
jlurban

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The Michigan Ice Cubes were still active in 2009, according to this article from the Midland Daily News website posted 7/20/09, 12:00 AM CDT:

Ice Cubes edge Lady Explorers in tourney title game

By Fred Kelly

The "old" ladies still know how to play softball.

The Ice Cubes, consisting mostly of members of the former Michigan Ice, edged the host Midland Lady Explorers 23-U team 5-4 in the championship game of the Lady Explorers Classic at Currie Stadium on Sunday.

The championship concluded an abbreviated schedule for the Ice Cubes, who participated in only two tourneys this summer.

"We all have jobs, so it's kind of hard to (travel all summer)," noted Ice Cubes' player-manager Kim Biskup, who made light of the fact that her team has a few years of experience on its opponents.

"We're a bunch of old fogies just playing for fun," she said with a grin. " … We just go out there and relax and show the younger kids that you've got to enjoy the game. You don't have to make it a job."

Be that as it may, the Ice Cubes looked very business-like in jumping all over Lady Explorers' pitcher Casey Hanes early in the title game.

The Ice Cubes strung together three straight hits, a walk, and a sacrifice fly to push across two runs in the top of the first. They added another run in the third and two more in the fourth to take a commanding 5-0 lead.

"I think yesterday we waited too long and got behind in counts, and we didn't really jump on that first (pitch)," said Biskup, whose team went 2-2 in pool play Saturday before going 3-0 in bracket play Sunday. "We came out today and jumped right on it, and it worked. We didn't really plan that. We just came out aggressive today."

Lady Explorers' manager Mike Kozuch agreed that the Ice Cubes' hitters looked like a different team Sunday.

"They came out strong. … The strike zone got real tight, and Casey works hard on (hitting) the corners," Kozuch noted. "Unfortunately, she had to throw the ball down the middle, and that team is all really good hitters."

The Lady Explorers, who weren't able to get much going against Ice Cubes' pitcher Jenny Mackson early on, finally generated some offense in the bottom of the fourth, scoring twice on three hits and a wild pitch to make it 5-2.

After Hanes worked out of a jam in the fifth, Midland scored again in the sixth to creep to within 5-3 but left the bases loaded.

The Lady Explorers had one more opportunity to complete the comeback in the seventh - and very nearly pulled it off.

Angie Kaiser led off with a single and stole second. Two outs later, Alison Allen singled to score Kaiser and make it 5-4. Jessica Chatterton then singled to put runners at first and second with two outs, but Mackson got Sam Thacker to ground out to end the game.

"We eventually settled in, but we didn't get the timely hitting that we've had the last couple of weeks," Kozuch said, adding that Mackson had a lot to do with that.

"...She pitched great. She showed why she was an All-American at Grand Valley State," he noted.

Biskup said she wasn't surprised by the Lady Explorers' rally.

"We never take them lightly," she noted. "We have a lot of former Lady Explorers on our team, and it's always fun playing against them."

Mackson got the complete-game win, while Hanes also went the distance to take the loss. Both pitchers allowed 11 hits.

Lauren Clark was 3-for-4 with a double, two runs batted in, and two runs scored to lead the Ice Cubes, while Meredith Moody also had two RBIs. Biskup added two hits and scored twice, and Amanda Jensen chipped in two hits, including a double.

For the Lady Explorers, Allen had two hits and two RBIs, while Danielle Williams added an RBI-single, and Chatterton singled twice.

Kozuch admitted that his team might not have been mentally ready to play in the early innings.

"I think we took them a little lightly, because we had already beaten them twice this year," he said. "We definitely came out confident, but we got ourselves in a big hole."

After getting mixed results in pool play Saturday, the Ice Cubes opened bracket play Sunday with a forfeit win over the Lady Explorers 18-U team, then beat the Blue Chips 2-0 in the semifinals.

"We weren't as tired today," Biskup joked. "Actually, our thing was, we were just going to come out and have fun and enjoy the game and just play. We didn't do anything different. We just do our best, and whatever happens, happens."

The Lady Explorers had initially planned on participating in the ASA Major A-B Women's National in Auburn, Ala., the weekend of July 31-Aug. 2. But Kozuch said that tournament may fall through since a lot of top-flight teams have opted instead to play in another tourney in Stratford, Conn., that same weekend.

Kozuch said the Lady Explorers now plan to participate in the NSA Women's National in Peoria, Ill., that weekend to close out the summer.

Lady Explorers 23-U 4, Line Drive Express 1

Hanes pitched a complete-game six-hitter and got some early run support in leading the Lady Explorers to victory in the semifinals.

Jessica McKeith's two-run single in the bottom of the first gave Hanes all the run support she would need, and the Lady Explorers added two more in the fifth on a homer by Allen.

Rachel Mueller led off the sixth with a homer for the Express's lone run.

Sarah Patterson took the complete-game loss for the Express, allowing 10 hits, including several that never got out of the infield.

Thacker and Lauren Memmer each had two hits for the Lady Explorers, while Marsha Beaubien singled, walked, and scored twice.

"They have good speed on their team, and we have to work on turning our plays a little quicker on defense," said Express manager Cathie Martelli, whose teams ends its inaugural summer at 10-5. "...A lot of these players are young, and I think one more year of development through their college programs will make a world of difference next summer."






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