dunlap high school product chases the cup with the rivermen

PEORIA, Ill. -- A morning practice at Owens Center. It's as comfortable as an old shoe for Alec Hagaman.

The Dunlap High School product played here growing up, and as a member of the Peoria Mustangs under Bob Fleming.

"Everybody knows The Hammer around here. He was a pretty big tough guy," said Hagaman. "(Bob Fleming) coached me here with the Peoria Mustangs my third year and I grew up with his son Mike. I knew him pretty well and got to play with him for a couple of years. And then, Doug Evans, I knew his son Blake. (We) played a lot of hockey growing up and hung out all the time."

The childhood memories come rushing back for the 25 year-old Rivermen rookie. He remembers going to games at Carver Arena, dreaming of one day playing there himself.

After 4 years of college hockey at Wisconsin-River Falls the phone rang. It was Rivermen coach Jean Guy Trudel.

"I don't take local guys just to take local guys," explained Trudel. "They have to make sure they're some of the best players out there in camp and make sure they're on the team. In camp (Alec) really impressed us. He's getting better and better and I think he's going to keep going because his confidence is growing everyday."

Hagaman appreciates what he's accomplished by making the team.

"Its really an honor. Growing up here, watching everybody that played here, seeing one of the teams win a cup. Its just something that you dream of an it's a great opportunity," Hagaman said.

Now Alex hopes to help the Rivermen raise a cup at Carver Arena.

The way the team is playing this season they think they've got a chance.

"I think even when we lose games its not because of lazy tendencies," Trudel said. "A lot of times its just breakdowns or maybe individual breakdowns, which you can correct. I think when we watch our team we don't do many mistakes. We don't have lazy tendencies. We work as hard in the defensive zone as in the offensive zone. That's why at the end of the year I think its going to pay off and (we'll be) the best team in the league."

SOURCE: http://www.cinewsnow.com/sports/Rivermen-grow-their-own-287373071.html