An entirely unique set of factors has made this one the toughest so far to figure.
The area’s best players often play at the junior level instead of for the local high school team. Often, a top player glided into high school hockey for a season before leaving again — making it much harder to base anything on career contributions.
Here’s what I’ve got so far:
Goaltender — Jeff Klug, Okemos (graduated 2001): Had a 1.24 goals-against average in being named LSJ Player of the Year as a junior when he led the Chieftains to the Division 2 state semifinals. He came back to post a 1.88 GAA as a senior Dream Team selection. He had a combined seven shutouts over those two seasons.
Defenseman — Pat Frank, Lansing Catholic (2000): A four-year varsity player, he graduated with the program’s records for goals and assists as a defenseman and was a two-time all-leaguer.
Defenseman — Robby Jaglowski, Grand Ledge/Waverly (2008): Named the LSJ Player of the Year as a senior, he was a four-year starter for the area’s strongest program at the end of the decade. He had 26 points as a senior.
Forward — Mike Sachau, Lansing Catholic (2002): Was a Dream Team selection his final three years despite also playing basketball, but he found time to tally 63 goals and 67 assists during that time. As a sophomore, he was plus-31 and had four game-winning goals.
Forward — Matt Bloomberg, Lansing Catholic (2005): Named LSJ Player of the Year as a senior and also made the Dream Team as a sophomore. He had 58 points surrounded by a lot of talent that season, and 47 as a senior when key teammates were lost to injury.
Forward — Evan Olds, Grand Ledge/Waverly (2009): Last winter’s LSJ Player of the Year tallied an unreal 79 points — with 38 goals — in just 27 games. It was his second season leading the CAAC in scoring during league play, and second as a Dream Team selection. As a junior he had 55 points.
Others in the conversation:
Goalkeeper — Austin Hull, Grand Ledge/Waverly (2011): He could be the goalie of the next decade, but made this season’s Dream Team as only a sophomore after leading the CAAC in save percentage and GAA. He finished with a 1.12 GAA overall.
Defenseman — Blake Rosekrans (2001): Made the Dream Team as both a junior and senior, notching 18 points during each and finishing plus-15 his final season.
Defenseman — Colin Hoyt, DeWitt/St. Johns (2007): Notched an impressive 32 points as a senior, his fourth on varsity and first as a Dream Team selection.
Defenseman — Andy Gauthier, Haslett/Williamston (2007): The two-time Dream Team selection had 28 points as a senior and 22 as a junior while his team was a dominating force in the league.
Defenseman — Pat Daley, Haslett/Williamston (2002): His best season was likely as a junior when he had 22 points — one per game — in making the Dream Team. He also served as Mason/Eaton Rapids/Charlotte’s coach before that team combined with Lansing Catholic.
Defenseman — Will Guerin, Lansing Catholic (2006): Starred as a junior, when he had 25 points in making the Dream Team.
Forward — Todd Estry, Okemos (2002): Tallied 46 points both as a sophomore and senior, making the Dream Team both times, and was also plus-25 as a senior when he was named LSJ Player of the Year.
Forward — Tim Weatherhead, East Lansing (2005): Made the Dream Team only as a senior, but put up 61 points in just 24 games that season after leading the league with 23 goals in league play. He was also all-league as a junior and sophomore.
Forward — Jake Cole, Holt (2003): Made one big high school splash as a sophomore with 68 points — including 41 goals — in 25 games to make the Dream Team.
Forward — Cam Holding, DeWitt/St. Johns (2007) — Dominated the CAAC as a senior, with 14 more points than anyone else during league games. Tallied 81 total in 26 games that season, including 51 goals, to be named LSJ Player of the Year.
Forward — Steve Toomey, DeWitt/St. Johns (2006): The 2006 LSJ Player of the Year graduated with 193 career points, including 98 goals. He had 44 points in CAAC games as a senior, the best in the league.
Forward — Scott Barnes, East Lansing (2004): The 2004 LSJ Player of the Year had 47 points as a senior, including 19 goals.
Forward — Ray Corey, Lansing Catholic (2003): Corey had 60 points as a senior, when he too was named LSJ Player of the Year.
Forward — Dan Kostaroff, Haslett/Williamston (2001): In his only high school season, as a senior, Kostaroff had 51 points to be named LSJ Player of the Year.
Forward — Chris Harris, East Lansing (2006): Tallied 50 points in making the Dream Team as a senior, and 142 total during a four-year varsity career.
And the coach: Rob Woodward (Lansing Catholic): Was named league Coach of the Year in both 2004 and 2005, and was 25-5-2 in league games those two seasons while leading the Cougars to their first league title in 27 seasons in 2004. He was also an assistant to Jon Cooper in 2000 when Lansing Catholic won its first regional since 1976.
Also in the conversation: Nearly every program has taken a turn as the area’s best this decade, and also struggled amid numbers crunches. East Lansing’s Dave Emerson, Okemos’ Bill Sipola, Haslett/Williamston’s Dave McAuliffe, Cooper, DeWitt/St. Johns' Doug Hoyt and Grand Ledge/Waverly’s Brian Clifford are all great candidates.
Other all-Decade blogs so far: