GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Gamblers' local flavor has stepped up a notch. They have 4 Wisconsin players on the team, including Appleton native Trenton Bliss who leads the team in scoring.
“It's always nice to have these who grow up knowing about the Gamblers, knowing the history of it,” said Gamblers coach Pat Mikesch. “Trenton Bliss is a great story having won a state championship in Appleton. Brock Caufield is that player we drafted as a 16 year-old that has great blood lines. Jackson Charlesworth is a real hard worker, a blue collar player who really worked to get in this league. Carver Watson is the cagey veteran of the group.”
“Being from Appleton, you grow up coming to these games,” Bliss said. “Our assistant coach won a Clark Cup here. When they won Game 5 it was packed, that was my first Gamblers memory.”
“The All Star game was here a long time ago,” Watson sad. “I actually got to skate out with one of the All Star players from Green Bay. That was something really special that made me want to play in this league even more.”
“I came to games as a kid and now I'm lucky, unlike most other guys, I'm close to home and my family comes to games,” Caufield. “It's a lot cooler playing in front of people who love you.”
“I grew up playing for the Junior Gamblers, so it's pretty cool to get back and play here in Green Bay,” Charlesworth said.
The comfort and excitement of playing near home is coupled with added advantage of playing for a coach who saw them on the ice for years before they came to the USHL.
“Being in the community and having my kids playing at the high school level the last few years and everything, I've watched most of these guys since they were 15 or 16 years old,” Mikesch said. “Now you're seeing them at the peak level. I probably noticed too many of their faults when they were young. Now you start to appreciate them when they are playing against all the top players in our country.”