Sports
7:44 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Ishpeming Hematites invade New York, meet LeBron James

NEW YORK, NY (WLUC-TV)--  

12/5/12:

A 22-hour bus ride with minimal sleep isn't stopping the Ishpeming Hematites from doing it all in the Big Apple this week. 

Credit WLUC-TV

They're on an all expense paid trip to celebrate Eric Dompierre's win in the Sports Illustrated Underdog Contest.

The first thing they did when they got there? They made their way to the Sports Illustrated Headquarters, where they had a meet and greet with staff.

They didn't stop there. They looked out onto the city at Rockefeller Center's observation deck, then on to Madison Square Garden to watch some college basketball.

"It feels exciting because there's going to be pro athletes there, and they might support me. And it just feels exciting," said award winner Eric Dompierre.

"So do you think you could live here?" asked Gabriella DeLuca.

"Uh, no. May come on vacation here, but I never could live here," said Ishpeming player, Cody Kugler.

"Why not?" Deluca asked.

"Uhhhhh, traffic is just a little bit too much," Kugler answered.

12/6/12:

It was the night the Ishpeming Hematites had been waiting for: the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year Award ceremony.

The players lined up along the Sports Illustrated "blue carpet," answering questions from national media, and they handled it like pros.   

On the blue carpet with Sportsman of the Year LeBron James.
On the blue carpet with Sportsman of the Year LeBron James.
Credit WLUC-TV

Ishpeming was accompanied by Eric LeGrande, the Rutgers athlete who was paralyzed, as Sports Illustrated pegged him the Ultimate Underdog.

Then they made their way to the main event where they sat six rows back from the stage. The team saw LeBron James accept his award as Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year.