WATERLOO, IOWA - Somebody should pinch Mike Testwuide to let him know he's not dreaming.The Vail native is coming back to his home state to play the game he loves, hockey, at the school he's always wanted to attend, Colorado College. Recently, Testwuide verbally committed to CC for next year. Testwuide is currently playing hockey for the Waterloo Black Hawks of the United States Hockey League in Waterloo, Iowa."This is exactly the dream," Testwuide said. "It's the best thing that's ever happened."Oh, and there's one more thing that spices up the situation. When Testwuide plays against the Tigers' rival, Denver University, he'll be squaring off against his former teammate and best friend, his brother John."You really couldn't have scripted it any better," Mike said. "We are really competitive, and we're going to have fun with it."John is happy for his brother, and equally excited to have a brother for a rival."We've never played against each other officially, so it will be special," John said.
Mike and John's parents, Janet and Paul, said they had an extra-speical Christmas knowing Mike would be close to home next year."It's something he's been working at for a long time," Janet said. "He feels he was finally able to give us something back after us supporting him all these years."Not only is Janet pleased be able to watch both of her sons playing on a regular basis, but she's also happy they are playing hockey at quality academic schools."To have things culminate with both the boys going to such great schools with such great hockey programs, and here in Colorado, is great," Janet said.Mike had other schools such as Northern Michigan, Ohio State, Dartmouth and Brown on his radar, but the final decision came between DU and CC."Colorado College gave him a good opportunity, so he couldn't pass it up," John said.Long journey
Playing Division I college hockey is no easy task, and being recruited doesn't happen overnight."It took me five years to come back here and play," John said.For Mike's freshman and sophomore year of high school, he went to the Northwood School, a boarding school in Lake Placid, N.Y."It's a huge sacrifice going to boarding school," Mike said.During Mike's freshman year, he was in good company, as John was also at Northwood. John left after one year at Northwood to play for Mike's current team, the Black Hawks.As chance would have it, the Black Hawks drafted Mike after his sophomore year."That year, I entered the Futures Draft," Mike said. "I wanted to play in this league, and (the Black Hawks) happened to be the only team I could play for because they drafted me."Seizing on the opportunity to be with Mike and John at the same time, Paul moved to Waterloo for one year, and all three lived together.
With Mike and John devoting so much time to hockey, it was an opportunity for Paul to be with his sons for an extended period of time."What they have sacrificed is unbelievable," Janet said. "We haven't gone on family vacations because in the summer they are training, and during spring break they are always in tournaments."But ever since they were young, Mike and John have always been there to push each other."Every day in the summer, we train together," John said. "He's my workout partner. It's awesome because I always have someone to go to the gym with, and to shoot with."Being the younger brother, Mike has appreciated John being more than just a training partner."He's my best friend, and my leader," Mike said. "I try to follow him."A relief
Now that Mike has his plans set for next year, he's able to breathe a bit easier."It takes some pressure off, with scouting stuff and don't have to be wondering what I'm doing next year," Mike said. "Now, I can concentrate on playing, working on my skills and developing."While Mike doesn't have to worry about being in direct contact with scouts for a while, he may hear from a few this summer before the NHL draft."I'm on the Central Scouting List, and this is my draft year," Mike said.In the meantime, Mike will enjoy donning his Black Hawks jersey, and looks forward to the day when he'll be on the ice with his brother again, even if they will be in different jerseys.And when they do meet next year, there will be at least one winner: Janet."I'm going to split one of each jersey down the middle," Janet said. "That way, I can't lose."Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado