By Bill LeConey
The Press of Atlantic City
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – When Jim Henkel was drafted by the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings four years ago, a familiar voice was on the line to congratulate him – the same one he heard the year before, when he made his college choice.
In fact, Henkel has been hearing Mike Haviland’s booming voice for a while now, and it continues to encourage and critique him through his rookie pro season with the Boardwalk Bullies of the East Coast Hockey League.
“I feel fortunate,” said Henkel, a native of Hazlet, Monmouth County. “It’s a really good situation for me right now. How many guys can say they’re playing, basically, in their own backyard – an hour and 15 minutes from home? I can have my family come down here whenever they want to see me play.”
Haviland is like hockey family to Henkel. The Bullies coach hails from Middletown, a few miles down the Garden State Parkway from Hazlet. Henkel played youth hockey under Haviland in Wall Township.