Ice hockey team returns with big plans for upcoming season

The+hockey+team+explains+how+their+transition+from+AA+to+AAA+has+shown+to+be+hard%2C+but+is+going+in+the+right+direction.++

Ethan Spozarski

The hockey team explains how their transition from AA to AAA has shown to be hard, but is going in the right direction.

The varsity hockey team has returned as defending state champions, but this year the team is playing in a higher division.

“It feels good to be the best, but it is terrifying,” senior defenseman Nelson Buys said. 

Even with the team moving up a division, team practices are for the most part remaining the same, because that is what worked last year. Senior captain Trevor Belak said that with the pressure of being defending state champs, the coaches have raised their expectations. 

“Our coach has a very high standard for the team … because he knows what we’re capable of, but we have to go out to practice with a good mindset and work hard,” Belak said. 

The team lost seven seniors to graduation from last year. Senior goalie Eddie Nowicki knows that his teammates are stepping up to fill in the seniors spots. 

“We lost key players, and we just need more people to step up. It’s still early, but most of the roles have been filled,” Nowicki said. 

He cited two players who have already taken big steps forward. 

“Sophomore Tanner Plinta and senior Xander Aul have improved so much since last year. They are really stepping up,” Nowicki said. 

The team is also gaining some players from last year’s junior varsity team. Junior Ben Cramer is one of them. 

It feels good to be the best, but it is terrifying. ”

— Nelson Buys

“It is a big step up. There is nothing like a varsity game — nice, hard, fun hockey,” Cramer said.

The pressure for the season is real, but pressure can ultimately be a motivator. 

“Everyone there deserves to be on varsity. The good pressure keeps us moving,” Cramer said. 

Along with motivation and concentration, the team’s relationships help them play better. Seniors Belak and Nowicki both believe that the team is very close, and the trust they have in each other is a key part of their success. 

“Everybody trusts each other. The younger kids look up to the people who have been there before,” Nowicki said. 

While the expectations of success for the season are heavy, the excitement is also high. 

“We get to show other teams and people that we belong in AAA and that we worked hard for the past couple of seasons,” Buys said.