It was an interview we caught a little earlier this Summer at Stand Up for the Cure in Muskegon, but as the beginnings of the Fall season start and there's a familiar chill in the air, people start thinking a little more about hockey.  

Our long standing tradition continues this year in Muskegon as the Lumberjacks of the USHL get ready for their 2018-19 campaign in a newly renovated LC Walker Arena.  It will be a new experience for the fans with the new lay out of the facility, menu options, Rad Dad's Taco's inside the place and a lot of new fun amenities that have been added to enhance the experience.  It's also a pretty good mix of returning players and new faces who are on their way to bright futures in the NCAA ranks or maybe on their way to the NHL to live out their hockey dreams on the grandest of stages.  Currently, there are 25 former Muskegon Lumberjacks who have been drafted by NHL teams and the list keeps growing.  abbyFollow "Abby" on Instagram

We've been known for some pretty amazing local hockey players.  Former pros who have stuck around town, younger players who have gone on to bigger things....some former coaches who are now top brass for their NHL teams, but none stand out more at the moment than Justin Abdelkader of the Detroit Red Wings.  Justin played in the USHL for Cedar Rapids, went on to Michigan State, The Grand Rapids Griffins and then got the call to be a Red Wing.  What Michigan hockey kid doesn't dream of that?  He's given us all something to be very proud of and represents himself and his community well all over the world.  

Justin was home for a while this Summer and made a surprise guest appearance to help raise a few bucks against breast cancer at Stand Up for the Cure and since Andy O was the emcee, we grabbed some footage of the chat and learned a little about the off season, his career and how the USHL help shape him to be the player he is today.  Take a listen.



Our thanks to Justin for taking a few minutes to talk hockey in his "off season" and of course, our thanks too to Justin for coming home to support such an important cause.  He's a great young man and as hockey season approaches...remember the work and dedication it takes to get the the level he did and how we've got that same drive and determination happening right here at the LC Walker Arena from October-April.  The future of the NHL is happening right here and now in Muskegon!  Be there for it!  You can learn more about the Lumberjacks by visiting their website below.


It's easily one of the most historic spots we have in Muskegon County.  Since 1916 Marsh Field has seen more history play out on it's hallowed grounds than just about anywhere.  From the original farm team of the New York Yankees called the Muskegon Clippers to the years when women took over and it was the Muskegon Belles or the Muskegon Lassies and the Outwin Zephyrs who played there when it was the "Negro Leagues".  A time that we're all glad has passed.  After all, it's is the Great American Pastime....that should include all Americans, right?  clippers scheduleClick on the 2018 Clippers Schedule to Follow them on Facebook

Today, the Muskegon Clippers once again call it home although today's Clippers are collegiate level players who are looking to hone their skills and develop in their "off season" while school isn't in session.  Much like the Muskegon Lumberjacks, the Clippers team players are billeted to area families while they are here to play.  They get a roof over their head and they commit to making sure that while they are here they get to develop, train, stay healthy and hopefully one day work their way up to the big leagues.  It's a long's a lifetime of dedication and development that not many can make, but to know that Muskegon plays a role in their future really resonates.  After all, Muskegon is known for building great things.  Why shouldn't we be building the future generation of athletes in any sport?

A Clippers game is a GREAT family night out.  Season tickets are only $80 bucks.  Single game tickets start at only $5 and there will be lots of added amenities this season for fans.  Concessions are kept affordable, there are tailgate opportunities, beverages are cold hot dogs are hot and one of the best parts of the game is that the intimacy you'll feel with the players and staff won't be found anywhere else.  You are literally within talking distance to the players.  It's a remarkably up close and personal feel.

The home opener of the Muskegon Clippers season is happening at Marsh Field on June 8th.  It's this Friday night and they are expecting a great crowd for opening night, so if you're planning on going, get there early and get your spot in the seats.  There is also some added lawn seating this year so it might not hurt you to have a lawn chair in the car with ya if you'd like to go that route.  Game time is 7:05p Friday night.

I caught up with Pitching Coach and General Manager Steve Cutter to talk a little about the team and the upcoming season at Marsh Field.  Take a listen to our chat to hear more.


We're proud to support the Muskegon Clippers and we're even more proud to know they support us.  When you're at the game, keep an eye out for the big Muskegon Channel banner hanging out there in the outfield.  This is something we have to be proud of in Muskegon and rally around.  Make sure you head to Marsh Field to catch a game or two this Summer.  Enjoy the history.  Enjoy the community and maybe catch a future All Star playing right here in Muskegon and you can say you saw them when.  For more on the Muskegon Clippers.  Click on their photo below to visit the team website!  

muskegon clippersfront

For 5 years now, we've had a little bit of hockey history added to the lore that is Muskegon hockey.  NHL Hall of Fame goalie John Vanbiesbrouck has been the General Manager of the Muskegon Lumberjacks and has been in charge of a lot of the behind the scenes type stuff.  Sure, the Jacks have come a long, long way when it comes to the entertainment value to the fan, but in the USHL that's only part of the show.  usa hockeyLearn More About USA Hockey

The USHL is the top tier of developmental hockey in the United States.  The league is the proving ground for a future where athletes will take the next step on to the Division 1 NCAA competition or spring board directly into the National Hockey League.  If you have watched over the last couple of years, players have come in from all over the planet to play in Muskegon.  Russia, Sweden, Finland, Czechoslovakia.  All parts of the USA and Canada too.  What we have now is truly a global destination for players to develop and the direction of John Vanbiesbrouck is a big part of their choice to come to Muskegon in the dead of winter to learn, grow and develop as players. 

Well, the hockey family suffered a loss of Jim Johannson in January of 2018.  It was just before the Olympics and Jim was the General Manager of the US Team.  It was a shock to the entire hockey community and felt across all levels of the sport.  Certainly not easy shoes to fill, but with the skills and desire to help form the next generations of hockey players inside John and his passion about the sport and athletes competing in it...I think it's pretty safe to assume he was on the short list to take the next step to head up a level and begin to represent the entire country for the hockey program we have.  John took the job with USA Hockey and his time in Muskegon is up.

John is a great leader and mentor.  He also brought in none of the ego you might expect with a Hall of Fame goalie.  His approach to work and Muskegon has been just what we're used to.  Be proud of the team, the town and the objective.  Hold your head high and don't let anyone take away what's being done at the LC Walker Arena because it's truly where the future of hockey is being written. He's brought in first round draft picks and he's challenged some of the players to fight through some of the hardest things they could possibly imagine.  Thousands of miles from home, language barriers, being away from friends and relatives at a young age...he's got players climbing Mt. Everest before they are 22 so they can live the dream he did in the NHL.  

I sat down to talk with John before he left.  Take a listen and hear what's next for "Beezer"

We'll miss him for sure at the rink, but the opportunity is so big.  On a players level, we're starting to see former Lumberjacks make their NHL debuts.  It's a progressive league focused on being a spring board to greater things for everyone involved including our very own Hockey Hall of Fame GM.  I don't foresee John being a stranger, but it sure will be fun to watch and see what he builds for the Olympics and to see his signature continue to be put on the lives of the players and the sport for years to come.  Our very best wishes to John and thanks for taking a few minutes to talk about your time in Muskegon.  To visit the Muskegon Lumberjacks site, click on the image below.



Muskegon is a proud hockey town.  We have a rich history in the sport and we've built generations of players right here in town.  Our pee wee leagues are bursting at the seams, the high school programs are thriving and at the LC Walker Arena the next generation of NCAA and NHL players are being built in the top tier developmental league in the world...the USHL.  We have young players, and their families coming from all over the world to perfect their skills for their shot at the big time.  

Hockey is a physical and tough sport.  The strength and stamina it takes to play is tough for anyone.  Now, imagine wanting to play hockey, don't have the use of your legs.  To the players on the Grand Rapids Sled Wings...the answer is pretty simple.  So what.  They are going to play hockey anyway.  That's the attitude to have.  sled wings 2

The Sled Wings are a two layered team.  There is the youth group and the adult team.  They compete all over the country and spread the word that hockey is for everyone.  They are supported by Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital and the goal is simple.  To give those with lower limb affected disabilities the chance to play, compete, be on a team, grow friendships, share in victory and learn from loss.  They have also found a group who are sincerely out to win hockey games, and they don't mind one bit coming in to a hosting barn and showing the home team who's boss.

Locally, Philipe Hernandez is like any other kid.  Watched him grow up at the Jacks games coming with his grandfather Ralph Burr who was the Head Score keeper for the team for years.  Philipe decided he wanted to play regardless of his chair and found the Sled Wings a few years ago and has been part of the team ever since.  Coach Steve Kozlowski has been an elemental part of all if it as well, being with the team for years and seeing first hand how the sport and the team has effected the young people that play.  We sat down to talk sled hockey and the upcoming game against the Jacks on Feb 25th.  Take a listen.  


February 24th during intermission you'll get a quick chance to see some of the Sled Wings in action during the Muskegon Lumberjacks game then on the 25th The Muskegon Lumberjacks take on the Sled Wings in a game at the LC Walker Arena.  It's a donation to get in, so if you head there to check out the game, consider a $10 spot to help the Sled Wings continue their love of hockey and their mission to spread the word that for everyone.  In Muskegon...with our rich hockey history....we know that to be true.  Click on the photo below for more on the Sled Wings.


Going on a guided duck hunt is not something that everyone can say that they have been able to do. Well today I followed along with one of the lucky raffle winners from the Lake Effect Youth Day that was held on August 26th. lake effect chapterLake Effect Chapter Michigan Duck Hunters Association on Facebook 

Rewinding back to August 26th the Michigan Duck Hunters Association Lake Effect Chapter held their 5th Annual Youth Waterfowl Day. This event was held at the DNR headquarters at the Muskegon State Game Area off Maple Island road. This was a free event for all to attend. The Children that were involved were able to see dogs retrieve in real time, shoot guns at clay pigeons, learn about trapping and get their very own duck call that they used for a "call" competition. When you arrived all of the children received a raffle ticket and after lunch they started calling numbers out for some pretty awesome prizes. Among these prizes four lucky winners were called for a fully outfitted waterfowl hunt for the 2017 Youth Hunt.

This all bring us back to today where Jeff and his son Tyler were guides to one of the winners. Meeting up at the boat launch before the sun even came up and taking a slightly cold boat ride to a previously scouted out spot Bailey was excited and ready to go. The morning started out slow but she hung in there. Bailey was able to shoot a couple rounds off at some lucky ducks that didn’t meet her metal. Even though she was unable to get a duck today she said that she had so much fun and cannot wait to go again.

Thank you to the Michigan Duck Hunters Association Lake Effect Chapter and all of the sponsors and donors that worked so hard on the Youth Day and on the time that they put in scouting and getting ready for the youth hunt. This is truly an organization and group that deserves your support. 

Back 40 Predators is back with Episode 9 on the Muskegon Channnel and this time it's a bear hunt in New Brunswick!  Rory Rought is the host of the show, he's also part of Northern Michigan Outfitters who specialize in guided hunts like these in the UP of Michigan.  All of that, and Rory also serves as a police officer in Muskegon Heights.

It's an exciting adventure as they head out hunting for bears.  Do keep in mind, this is a hunting show.  They are hunting.  Viewer discression s advised.  On to the woods!

Our thanks to Rory and the team from Northern Michigan Outfitters for the adventure.  If you'd like to know more about their hunts, you can visit their facebook page for now.  They are currently working on a new website and will have it up soon.  Find them on Facebook by clicking below!

nm outfitters


The Back 40 Predators are back at it and in Ohio for a turkey hunt!  It seems that turkeys are plentiful everywhere and not only roaming the neighborhoods of Muskegon like it's the Zombie Apocalypse of birds.  Back 40 Predators is a production of Northern Michigan Outfitters based in Muskegon.  They offer hunting trips into the UP and are working on a new website soon!  We're proud to help them spread the word about safe hunting, conservation of natural resources and fellowship among hunters.  Let's go hunting in Ohio!

Our thanks to the Back 40 Predators for sharing the show!  I hear they are getting their first TV deal pretty soon, stay tuned for details on that too!!  If you'd like to know more about one of their guided hunts.. click on their logo below to visit their Facebook page.

nm outfitters 

The deer population continues to grow and it's not only MIchigan that is seeing issues with the population of the.  This week, the Back 40 Predator guys head out to the East Coast once again to do a little population control with some problem deer. 

Back 40 Predators is produced by Northern MIchigan Outfitters.  Rory Rought and his team travel the country to bring you this program and also provide you with some educational matters when it comes to conservation of wildlife and proper practices when it comes to hunting. 

We hope you enjoyed the show and we're thankful to Northern Michigan Outfitters for being part of The Muskegon Channel.  If you'd like to know more about their guide service, you can click on their logo below to connect with their Facebook page.  

nm outfitters

Back 40 Predators heads south to Texas to help with the over population of the Texas wild hogs. 3 Days, 56 hogs hit the dirt. Bacon everywhere!

Back 40 Predators on The Muskegon Channel is a locally produced hunting show by the operators of Northern Michigan Outfitters.  If you'd like to know more about the show or the guys who run in, please visit their Facebook page while their new website is being designed.

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Back 40 Predators heads down south to meet up with staff member Austin Humber to redeem themselves from eating last years tag soup. Karla Rought shoots her first buck ever and a couple of does take a dirt nap as well.

Back 40 Predators on The Muskegon Channel is a locally produced hunting show by the operators of Northern Michigan Outfitters.  If you'd like to know more about the show or the guys who run in, please visit their Facebook page while their new website is being designed.

nm outfitters

Sing along!!  Catch us if you caaannnnn....oooh..catch us if you caaaannnnn..... What?  Oh fine....sure it wasn't the best rendition of the old Dave Clark 5 song, but hey...I gave it a shot right?  None the less, it's a song that's been associated with running for quite some time, in fact if you are from around here, it's all you heard for a while when running craze got underway.  Guess what, from the early days till now...running has become somewhat of it's own travel industry and in Muskegon, we're gearing up for the Mercy Health Seaway Run which has been going on over three decades now! sway runFollow the Mercy Health Seaway Run on Facebook

 2017 will see some new improvements and fun features to accompany the actual run.  Let's start off with a new location.  Years gone by, everything kicked off and wrapped up down by the YMCA, that area has since been torn up and grass planted to make the lot a little more appealing for a potential buyer.  So...where do we move it?  RIGHT DOWNTOWN Muskegon thank you!  It will all kick off with a free Healthy Lifestyle Expo at the LC Walker Arena June 23rd from 11a-7p.  If you're running, pick up your packet and stroll through the exhibits.  If you're not running, take advantage of a free expo that can show you a few things about building your health up!  Why wouldn't you go to that?  Race day, you can pick from The Seaway 5k walk or run, The Seaway 15k or the Lake Michigan Half Marathon!  There will even be a nice community walk if you're not among the running crowd.  After it's all said and done, you might want to grab a cold one in the beverage tent.  We don't mind capping off any day in Muskegon with a beer, and after you burn all those calories and could probably use one!

I met up with Chris Burnaw and the brand spakin new race director Andrew Buikema at the start/finish line Downtown Muskegon to talk about the event, some of this years imporviements, what we can expect race weekend and what kind of impact an event of this magnitude has on Muskegon and our economy.  Take a listen to our talk below!




Thousands will be part of this awesome event and they are coming from near and far to enjoy a run, some beautiful scenery and the hospitality that only Muskegon can provide!  Sound like something you'd like to be part of?  There are opportunities to register to run or you can volunteer thru the link in the photo below!  Muskegon is making giant strides and an event of this magnitude and endurance is yet another piece of the puzzle!  If nothing else, head down and cheer on the runners! 


seaway run logo


Back 40 Predators Heads up the Western end of Michigans Upper Peninsula to check out Northern Michigan Outfitters bear camp.


Stay tuned for more from Nothern Michigan Outfitters on The Muskegon Channel!!  Follow Northern Michigan Outfitters on Facebook for now!  They have an all new website under construction!


nm outfitters

We've promised you some original programming and we're very thankful to Northern Michigan Outfitters for saying ""Yes" to running their show on The Muskegon Channel.  Rory Rought and his crew are staying right here in Michigan this time and turkeys.....well, they had best be watching out.  In fact, right here in Muskegon County is where they filmed this second episode. nm outfittersNorthern Michigan Outfitters on Facebook

Outback Predators provides a first class hunting excursions.  They are even close to filling out the rest of the openings for the 2017 bear hunting season in Michigan.  If you'd like to know more about some of their hunts and excursions, you'll find the link right under the photo to the right.  These are local guys who are building a business from the ground up.  They are skilled, fun and observe all rules when it comes to proper conservation of nature.  In the near future, their new completely revamped website will be out and you'll be amazed! 

For now... let's go hunting and get a gobbler!









The only thing missing will be the sound of the engines firing after the National Anthem...other than that, we're going to have a brand new event in Downtown Muskegon this year and it's going to be a heart pounding race!  The inaugural Port City Criterium is a bicycle race that will take place May 13th and you're invited to come check out this great new event and be part of something very exciting in Muskegon.  Yes...I am talking to you, the one who's always saying "There's never anything to do in Muskegon" know who you are!  :) pc cri routeClick the Race Map for Port City Crit FB Page

I have seen just about anything on wheels race, I have even seen a race similar to this in Grand Rapids a few years back and let me tell ya... intensity is a big part of the game.  The racers, some of which are on bikes that cost $7000 bucks and are made out of carbon, are razor focused and out to win.  They race in packs and the chance of "the big one" (wreck) is always there.  It's a day divided up into different categories of racers, different skill levels age groups etc.  You'll find everything from the Men'sElite Category to a chance for kids to take a lap around beautiful Downtown Muskegon at noon.  The racers...they are after cash and trophies and the kids...well, they will enjoy the ride!  It's a full day with events kicking off at 8:30am with registration and the first laps turned at 10a.

I know a little about racing...but very little about bicycle racing and I figured there would be no better place to learn a little more about this event than at City Hub Cyclery which is nestled right on the corner of 7th Street and Clay Downtown.  It was my first stop into the bike shop and about cool!  It's even run by another transplant from Sparta!  It was like old home week.  Meet Jen Weaver from City Hub Cyclery and Cathy Schroder who is the event PR Manager and Sponsorship Coordinator. We caught up on all things bike racing and learned a lot more about this new, fun and exciting event coming to Muskegon.  Take a listen!


It's's something you don't see every's a break from the normal and a chance to get Downtown Muskegon to enjoy an event free to specataors and be a part of all of the amazing things happening Downtown.  City Hub Cyclery is an incredible small business and to see their shop grow and now...bring in events along with the other Downtown establishments who are supporting the Criterium.  We're all about helping spread the word about the great people and the great events in Muskegon!  Best of luck to the Port City Criterium and we hope that they are here to stay!  Hmmm.... we've got Rebel Road....wonder if Pedal Road is equally as catchy?  Click on the event poster below for the Port City Criertium Website

pc poster

At the Muskegon Channel, we're out to help spread the word about the great things that go on in and around Muskegon.  If you read the "slug line" where it says "We have a new story to tell" we kinda mean just that and think that showing off what we've got is a great way to build a little self confidence in everyone and you know too... there's something cool about being "on the show."  We're out taping our own stuff, but there's a group of guys from right here in Muskegon that have been putting on a show for a while, and since we've got room for them, let's get you up to speed with Back 40 Predators. b40 playgroundBack 40 Predators on Facebook

Back 40 Predators is hosted by Rory Rought and his band of hunters and outfitters.  They will take you on some amazing hunts in Michigan and other areas.  It's an honor and pleasure to have them on the Muskegon Channel.

I will offer a disclaimer.  This is a HUNTING show.  The hunting you will see is all legit, there's no disrespect for life or waste of the harvest.  Hunting is not for everyone, so if you are not of the hunting and outdoors pursuasion, you might enjoy Cooking with Chef Char or The Beer Show, both here on the Muskegon Channel!

With that, let me welcome you to Season 1 Episode 1 of Back 40 Predators on The Muskegon Channel! 







 Cool huh?  Thanks to Back 40 Predators for agreeing to run the show on The Muskegon Channel!  We'll look forward to their next outdoor adventure!

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