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Prep Watch: Big skill from Big D

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

When it comes to American mythology, there’s nothing better than the tale of a Texas gunslinger coming into a new town and raising pulses. And while it may be 2009, it’s hard not to reckon that’s what center Cason Hohmann has done this season for Detroit Compuware’s under-16 minor midget team.

Born and raised in the Dallas area, Hohmann and his family moved up to Michigan this year so the super-skilled pivot could ply his trade with one of the best-known organizations in American minor hockey. The youngster originally got into the sport through roller hockey, then transitioned to the ice game soon after and has never looked back.

With every passing year, the talent coming from Texas gets better, no doubt due to the maturation of the first generation of children who grew up not knowing a world without Dallas NHL hockey. Hohmann (“I still love the Stars,” he noted) said he had noticed the skill level increasing as he went through the system.

“Everyone wanted to get better and be more competitive,” he said.

Back in Michigan, Hohmann led his league in scoring this season, totaling 24 goals and 56 points in 31 games and helping Compuware to a first-place record of 23-5-3, heading into the Michigan state championship.

“He’s a very dynamic player,” said Compuware coach Derek Szajner. “He sees the ice well and he’s explosive on his skates. He skates one speed: full-out.”

With 32 assists in 31 games, Hohmann is obviously known for his set-ups.

“He’s a playmaker,” Szajner noted. “A constant threat when he has the puck. He can stickhandle in a phone booth.”

For Hohmann, the secret to his success is pretty simple.

“I hate losing,” he said bluntly. “My competitive ability takes over and I work hard until we’re ahead and the game’s over.”

Coming in at about 5-foot-8 and 150 pounds, Hohmann is obviously not the biggest kid in the world, especially in an elite league where some of the other players have already cracked the 6-foot mark. Not coincidentally, the Compuware center wants to get stronger and Szajner noted that Hohmann is more likely to use positioning to elude bigger players than take them on in the corners.

Hohmann cites little balls of skill Martin St-Louis and Daniel Briere as NHLers he looks up to. And while St-Louis went undrafted and Briere took years to become a top NHLer, Hohmann is already trying to make a name for himself by trying out for the U.S. national team development program.

“First of all, they have a great training program,” Hohmann said. “And a lot of great players have come out of there.”

Before he gets his shot at the NTDP – and wherever Hohmann ends up after that, whether it be major junior or NCAA – the young center and his Compuware brethren face a series of high-profile post-season challenges. Beginning next week, the state championship will feature all the usual suspects from the Detroit area, such as Belle Tire, Victory Honda and Little Caesar’s. From there, Compuware will likely head to the OHL Cup and hopefully the U.S. nationals.

For Hohmann, it doesn’t matter what the trophy is; he just wants to win it.

“Whatever’s up next,” he said. “That’s what I’m focused on 100 percent.”

Prep Watch, which features minor hockey players destined to become big names in major junior or the NCAA, appears every Thursday, only on

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