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Hogs deal with new team, expanding families

10/12/2011 7:53 PM

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From the Rockford Register Star, by Reed Schreck: (link)

ROCKFORD – Forward Brett McLean just went through having a child born for a second time. Goalie Alexander Salak is awaiting his first, most likely next week.

It’s difficult enough to adapt to new teams, new systems, new towns, new teammates, etc., without having your mind elsewhere much of the time.

How could they not?

The McLeans welcomed their newest addition Tuesday. Brett was excused from practice that day and Wednesday.

Both McLean and Salak are expected to travel with their Rockford IceHogs teammates for road games at Abbotsford on Friday and Sunday. Salak also will get a couple days off when his wife, Michelle, gives birth to a son, Frederick.

Asked how he deals with his situation, Salak shrugs and smiles.

“I don’t know. It’s my first baby,” the Strakonice, Czech Republic native said. “Sometimes I don’t know what’s going on. It’s hard to tell.

“We’re really excited. It’s going to be a big turn in our lives. Hockey’s not going to be as important any more, I guess.”

Salak said he’s doing his best to separate hockey and impending fatherhood.

“Sometimes it’s distracting,” he said. “You think too much sometimes. You just do your stuff at the rink and try your best, then go home to your wife and kid. I expect it to be something like that, and it will only help me.”

New head coach Ted Dent generous in issuing excused absences. After all, he’s a father of three.

“I told the team that anytime anyone needs time off for family – whether it’s a wife or someone sick, or mom or dad and aunts and uncles – just come to me and tell me what’s going on,” he said. “They can go and do whatever they need to if they need a few days off.”