GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (CBS) – A key cog in the Neumann University ice hockey team that won the 2009 Division III National Championship is now enjoying success as a pro, recently getting called up to the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins for a second time this season.

Forward Mike Hedden’s success with Toledo of the ECHL has led to his shots with Grand Rapids.   In 52 games with the Walleye, Hedden has 29 goals and 16 assists.

“It was a struggle at the start of the season,” he recalls.   “I started out really slow.  Then I broke my hand — I was out for a month.  But since I’ve been back in January, everything seems to be going in the back of the net for me and it’s been good,” Hedden says.

Hear Matt Leon’s full interview with Mike Hedden in this CBS Philly SportsPod…

His first taste of the AHL, back in January, lasted only a game, and he played his first game of this second stint on Wednesday night.  Even though his experience has been limited, Hedden says he’s had more than enough time to notice the differences in the game from the ECHL to the AHL:

“Speed of the game is a lot faster.  Systems — everyone is always in the right spot.  And passes — every pass is always tape to tape, which makes the game a lot faster.”

Grand Rapids is the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings.

Reported by Matt Leon, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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