By Ron Rop
Local Sports Journal
Jay VandeVoorde’s team of writers has persevered.
VandeVoorde, a local author, set out last fall to join forces with seven Muskegon Lumberjacks’ hockey players to write a second children’s book about hockey in Muskegon.
Joining VandeVoorde were Matt DeBlouw, Mark Yanis, Joe Cox, Jon Padulo, Alex Smith, Carter Foguth and Paul Berrafato in a quest to write a book with the working title of ‘Muskegon Lumberjacks – Topsy-Turvy Travels with a Twisted Team.’
The book will be used for the Lumberjacks Reading Caravan, which promotes literacy in West Michigan.
VandeVoorde made a road trip with the team to Dubuque, Iowa, and Chicago, Ill. with the purpose of writing a book about what a United States Hockey League road trip is all about.
However, the topsy-turvy roster for the Jacks caused some worry for VandeVoorde as the book progressed toward publication, which is set to be completed this fall.
Berrafato was traded in January, Smith was traded in May, Padulo was left unprotected in the draft and went to another team and DeBlouw and Yanis were heading off to college following the conclusion of the season.
“All five of these players had little reason to continue to work on the book,” VandeVoorde wrote on his Facebook Page. “They all could have easily left Carter Foguth, Joe Cox and I hanging high and dry.
“But they didn’t,” he said. “All seven guys continued to work through emails and text message during the spring and now into the summer. Throughout the final months of the season, these seven players met, emailed and sent text messages constantly trying to get the publication done.”
The group also met twice in Detroit to touch base on the book. Not everyone could make it to both meetings due to hockey camps, work, school commitments or family events. Berrafato even made it to one of the meetings, making the long trek from his home in Buffalo, N.Y.
“For Muskegon fans, these guys have shown me nothing but respect, hard work, dedication and friendship,” VandeVoorde said.