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Three brothers, three championships, one day

The Norris brothers – Josh, Coale and Dalton – show off their state championship medals. (click for larger version)
March 14, 2012 - The hockey-loving Norris family of Oxford scored the ultimate hat trick on March 4.

Playing for three different teams in three different locations, all three Norris boys – Coale, Josh and Dalton – won state championships in the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association.

"It was just an absolute perfect hockey day for the family," said their father Dwayne Norris. "The odds of all three winning at once have just got to be off the charts."

Playing for the Oakland Junior Grizzlies 1997 Bantam AA team, Coale, who's a freshman at Oxford High School, won his state championship in Port Huron.

Josh, who's a seventh-grader at Oxford Middle School, won his state championship with the Oakland Junior Grizzlies 1999 PeeWee AA team in Mt. Clemens.

Way up in Calumet, Dalton, who's a fourth-grader at Oxford Elementary School, secured his state championship with his team, the 2001 Troy Sting Squirt AA.

"It's difficult to win a state championship," Dwayne said. "To have one in your household is obviously something to be proud of. To have three, it's kind of surreal."

At the end of March, both Coale and Josh are off to New Jersey and Virginia, respectively, to represent Michigan at the USA Hockey National tournaments.

Dwayne indicated all three of his sons are quite skilled on the ice.

"They're all important players on their teams," he said. "They're all very gifted."

All three play different positions on the ice.

Coale is a right-winger, Josh plays center, and Dalton is a defenseman.

"They play multiple sports, but hockey is the one that really gets them out of bed in the morning," Dwayne said. "They're very passionate about the game."

That's largely due to the influence of Dwayne's career.

Prior to retiring in 2006, Dwayne, who was born and raised in Canada, played professional hockey for 16 years.

His career included the Quebec Nordiques and Anaheim Mighty Ducks (both National Hockey League teams); the Canadian Olympic team; and two pro hockey teams in Germany, the Cologne Sharks and Frankfurt Lions.

Following his retirement from playing, he served as the Lions' general manager for three years.

"My kids have been around the game their whole life. They grew up watching me play," Dwayne said. "They've basically been born and raised in an environment that's conducive to high-end hockey."

When asked if he believes any of his sons are planning to follow in his skate-tracks, Dwayne replied, "I think all of them are hoping to play at some other level."

"We honestly don't talk about it that much," he said.

There's no doubt that hockey's definitely part of the Norris boys' genetic code, but it takes more than just natural ability to win three state championships in a single day.

It takes lots and lots of practice.

Each boy spends an average of 10 hours per week on the ice, which means a total of 30 hours for the family.

"We're pretty much at the rink seven days a week. There might be one day that we're not," said Dwayne, who gives lots of credit to his wife, Traci, for all the time, energy and commitment she's put into juggling the boys' schedules, so their dreams can come true.

"She's the driving force," he said. "She's probably the most committed of all of us."

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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