Hockey with heart: playing for the love of the game
Ice hockey club expands to varsity and junior varsity teams for the upcoming winter season
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In the freezing rink, two players ram into each other, battling for the puck, as their skates cut the hard ice. With winter beginning, the ice hockey team is preparing for its upcoming season.
“This is the team’s fourth season and I think we’ve been improving every season,” captain and senior Kyle Strale said. “Last year, we finished third place in league and hopefully we’ll do even better this year.”
Hockey differs from other sports on campus, because it is recognized as a club, not a class. Although the players receive physical education credits, the real reason they play is for the love of the game. The club might not be an official sport team, but it still represents the school with tremendous pride.
“More players are joining each year, because last year we only had one team, but now this year, we have enough people for two teams,” second line left winger and junior Josh Alexander said.
With more students joining, the club has expanded to both a varsity and a junior varsity team. Unlike most school sports, the team faces the challenge of driving out of town for practice. Fortunately, they are all committed to the sport, so the commute is not an issue. Having the opportunity to play at The Rinks Anaheim ICE is worth the distance, because it is crucial to improving skill on the ice.
“We have had some ups and downs on-and-off the ice, but we have grown tremendously as a team,” Strale said. “We play hockey because we love the physicality, the rush of scoring the game-winning goal, and even the shenanigans and pranks in the locker room.”
As the adviser of the club, English teacher Jeff Alexander supports and manages the team. He arranges all of their games such as the tournament in Las Vegas last weekend. He also orders equipment, and communicates with the team’s parents. Alexander not only serves as the adviser, but also as a coach for the team, so he is especially important to the team’s success.
“We’re a part of the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League, which now has over fifty school involved, so high school hockey is growing phenomenally,” Alexander said. “We’re opening up one of the largest ice facilities in the nation in the Irvine Great Park, and it’ll be a big help for us when that happens.”
With the start of the season, the ice hockey team looks forward to skating on the ice, feeling the cold air and experiencing the adrenaline of fighting for the puck on the ice again.