Note: This is the first in a series of articles profiling the 2015 inductees to the Port Huron Sports Hall of Fame.
Most Port Huron Sports Hall of Fame inductees – or any hall of fame inductees, for that matter – are simply looking back on great careers.
Daryel McCarrel has plenty of great things to look back on, but he’s the rare instance of someone who can still look to the future in their career, as he’s being inducted while still an active coach.
“I know the quality of people that go in there, and it’s a great honor,” said McCarrel, who admitted he was a little surprised he had received the call. “To get that phone call, and knowing you’re going to be in with those guys and ladies – I know the quality of people they put in there. It’s a real honor for my wife and I to have that bestowed upon us.”
McCarrel is one of seven inductees – six individuals and one team – in the 2015 class. He will be inducted on Oct. 24 along with Marshall “Duke” Campbell, Randy Shagena, Mary Kay Baribeau, Dave Forstner, Jacqueline “Jackie” Jeffrey and the 1970 St. Clair County Community College men’s golf team.
The induction banquet will be held in the Atrium at the student center at SC4. Refreshments will be served at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. This year’s guest speaker is former Denver Broncos offensive lineman George Geoddeke. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased by Saturday at the Palmer Park Recreation Dept., ForSports in Fort Gratiot, from any Hall of Fame Board member, by calling Sherry Artman at (810) 989-5560 or online through SC4 (a link can be found at http://www.phsportshalloffame.com/banquet.html).
McCarrel, a Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario native, moved to Port Huron in 1986 with his wife, Julie, and began coaching at Northern in 1987. Eventually, he turned the Huskies into one of the state’s top programs, as he has won 12 regional championships, advanced to six Final Fours, and finished as state runner-up once.
Beyond that, however, McCarrel and the Huskies earned the respect of the state’s biggest programs, enough so that they were invited to join them in starting the state’s most prestigious high school hockey conference, the Michigan Interscholastic Hockey League. It’s a league, McCarrel said, that has proven high-school hockey players can move onto the highest levels of the sport.
“I think mostly (I look back on) where we came from and where we are,” McCarrel said. “I think when the private coaches called us up and respected our program enough and decided to make the league we have now (was a proud moment).”
Campbell and Shagena both played for McCarrel, and Baribeau was “racking up state championships” for the Northern girls tennis program while McCarrel was in his first stint as Northern hockey coach. So going in with them is an added thrill, McCarrel said.
While he’s no doubt had a ton of success – he’s likely to eclipse the 400-win mark this season – he credits his assistant coaches with having helped build the program. He also looks at the off-ice success of his former players as a point of pride.
“I think that’s one of the things I’m most proud of,” McCarrel said. “We believe in having leadership with our captains, and it’s a hard thing to ask a 16 or 17 or 18-year old to stand in front of their friends and be a leader. I’m most proud that so many of the young men that were captains for us went on to become leaders in the community and around the state. I think that’s a big part of Northern hockey, is leadership.”