Lohan reflects on multi-sport past

Senior defender Kevin Lohan in a game against Michigan Tech on December 29, 2016.

Senior defender Kevin Lohan in a game against Michigan Tech on December 29, 2016.
Sam Mousigian/Daily

 

Thursday, January 26, 2017 - 8:39pm

Kevin Lohan knows the benefits of playing multiple sports in high school. The senior defenseman played four years of high school hockey and lacrosse in Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.

Now in his final season with the Michigan hockey team, Lohan knows the advantages that he earned from playing multiple sports.

“I grew up playing a bunch of sports,” Lohan said on Wednesday. “And then as you get older, it dwindles down and it eventually dwindles down to one sport.  I think it’s great to have that little break from one sport. It kinda keeps it fresh, keeps your energy high, keeps that enthusiasm.”

“I love both sports. I love hockey more, obviously, but, you know, the people you meet, the friendships and the things you learn go a long way in both sports. I definitely don’t regret playing lacrosse for as long as I did.”

Michigan coach Red Berenson often seeks out multi-sport athletes to play under him. Students who play soccer and lacrosse often succeed in hockey as well because of their sports’ speed and constant back-and-forth play.

Though Berenson never played lacrosse, he has seen a handful of games and understands why Lohan had the talent to have played the sport competitively in high school.

“A lot of the hands (skills) are similar, hand eye coordination,” Berenson said. “It’s a contact sport with a lot of running, conditioning, moving.”

Added Lohan: “I think the two sports are fairly similar in terms of competitive nature and the offense and defensive aspects of the game. There’s a lot of similar stuff in terms of movement both in the defensive zone and offensive zone, that can help.”

While some young high school athletes choose to specialize in one sport by the time they reach high school, Lohan continued playing both. He explained that it wasn’t until his sophomore year that he began to place more emphasis on hockey Still, he continued to play both sports for his remaining two years.

It didn’t cross his mind until junior year, however, that he believed he possessed the skills and potential for a college hockey career. Even after this realization though, playing the sport after high school presented a challenge for Lohan.

“After that year, I decided to pursue hockey,” Lohan said. “I had some opportunities with lacrosse, but nothing with hockey, but that’s kinda where my passion was. I’d played hockey, and after the season I’d take a little break and my break would be playing the rest of the lacrosse season. Once that was over, I’d put my attention toward training for hockey.”

Perhaps Berenson might have embraced Lohan playing lacrosse in addition to lining up on defense. Besides Lohan, senior forward Max Shuart played two seasons of lacrosse and junior forward Cutler Martin played varsity tennis.  

“Sports nowadays have become so specialized,” Berenson said. “You have to become a one-sport athlete at a young age. I like the fact that you can play more than one sport, that you be an athlete as well as a good hockey player. We’ve had some players who were very athletic and were really good hockey players. and we’ve had other players who only played one sport and were also good hockey players.

“But personally, I like to see kids that are well-rounded and playing other sports too.”

As Lohan progressed through the early parts of his career, he began to fully comprehend the skills that lacrosse taught him.

Lohan hasn’t entirely let go of playing lacrosse, either. The friendship between the hockey and the lacrosse team gives them opportunities to practice their skills during the offseason.

“We’re really close with those guys,” Lohan said. “There’s been a couple times throughout the year, that, after our season was done, they had (opened) Oosterbaan. So a couple of the guys, we went in with them, and last year I went with (former Michigan forward) JT Compher, and (Wolverine midfielder) Mikie Schlosser on the lacrosse team took us in there and we messed around a little bit. It was definitely fun.”

Though Lohan focuses full-time on manning Michigan’s blue line and clearing pucks out of the Wolverines’ zone, he still ponders whether he could’ve played lacrosse during hockey’s offseason in Ann Arbor.

“It was always in the back of my mind, the possibility of playing both in college,” Lohan said. “I had known some people who had done that. Realistically, that would’ve been my main goal, but things happen for a reason, and my heart was with hockey.”