Benito Posa Ready to Make 2018-19 Return to Muskegon LumberjacksAugust 21, 2018
As the summer comes to a close, the Muskegon Lumberjacks returnees are getting prepared to take the ice. After losing notable star power from the previous season, the Lumberjacks are going to be relying heavily on the twelve young men coming back. Among those is forward, Benito Posa. Access Hockey MI spoke with Posa about his anticipations for the upcoming season.
posa ready for a bigger role
Posa found his footing with Muskegon last season as a rookie. Coming into this season, Coach Mike Hamilton will be placing much more pressure and accountability on him. The 19-year old understands the pressure mounting and has taken the off-season to prepare for the challenge ahead. “I think I need to get the pucks to the net and have some grit around the corners,” Benito told Access Hockey MI, “I need to focus on being stronger along the boards.” Though a strong skater, thanks in large part to the former coach, John LaFontaine, Posa sees the need for a more physical style of play. Many workouts found him flipping large tractor tires to build his legs. In practice, the tire-flipping paid off when he noticed his stride getting stronger.
Having improved dramatically on his skating, Posa will be working hard to fill the leadership role given to him as a now-veteran. Giving much attention to improving his point production, you’ll likely find Posa in front of the net this coming season. In the absence of point-leader and Captain, Anthony Del Gaizo, Benito anticipates needing to increase production to fill the gap. “I’m really trying to focus on trying to help in the point category,” Posa said, “…step into a bigger role…I’m going to model so many things after Anthony (Del Gaizo).” The captaincy has yet to be decided, however.
Benito finds strength with teammates and family
In the off-season, he’s been keeping tabs on last seasons’ skaters who have formed a bond that will impact the culture of the team. “I know I have some good brotherhood to keep me on the leadership side of things,” Posa told Access Hockey MI. Striving to become a leader, whether he wears the “A” or “C,” is part of what makes him a special skater. His drive and ambition are matched with a work ethic few possess. He actively gleans from his fellow teammates to get pointers and remain accountable.
Posa also has strong family support. Calling Flint, Michigan home, Posa’s family comes as often as they can to support him – which proved to be a necessary encouragement as the team inched closer to the playoffs. His father, a professional scout, was able to attend a few games and lend Benito a few words of wisdom. Laughing, Posa explained these wise-counseling moments, “When I talk to him (dad) after games, he talks and I listen.”
The upcoming season is going to hold its share of obstacles. The Lumberjacks made many changes to the front office as well as behind the bench. After being under the care of John LaFontaine, coach “Hammer” will take charge. Posa is looking forward to the change. “I know he can help me all around. I think he’s gonna be good to have behind the bench,” stated Posa. Hamilton has a different style than LaFontaine, but the culture shift is a welcomed addition to the team. Benito has been able to look on both coaches with equal appreciation, “Coach La (LaFontaine) taught me a lot of things and helped me with my skating throughout the year. (There’s) so much to learn from both coaches.”
uncommitted with time on his side
The future of Benito Posa is yet to be determined. Uncommitted and entering his second full season in the USHL, time is for the moment, on his side. Like every hockey player, Benito’s sights are set on the NHL. “It’s every kids’ dream to be drafted,” he told me, “I’d love to have happen.” Unfortunately for many skaters, a draft pick isn’t always in the cards. Though in Muskegon, it seems to be becoming a common occurrence. Posa doesn’t oppose the NCAA route, however. Keeping his options open, he’s not partial to any school in particular. He’s open to just about anything. He admitted that sticking close to his roots would be ideal, “I’d take anyone (school offer) really. All my family has gone to Michigan schools, so it’d be cool to go there with them.” Though not every player’s dream is to go to the NCAA, Benito wouldn’t be disappointed in the least if he had to wake up every day for school to play hockey.
Going forward, Posa is focusing on his game, improving his presence on the ice, and contribution to the team. Drawing from valuable lessons learned during the 2017-18 season, he’ll be hitting the ice for pre-season, ready to go. Along with eleven other previous teammates, there are no doubts that Posa will be part of the strength of the team this coming season.