Hockey season aims for conference


Brianna Mosinski, Staff Writer

  Plainfield Hockey players are gearing up to be back on the ice after a long break and are still getting accustomed to the challenges after quarantine, but almost everyone learned something.

  “Covid presented a lot of challenges for the hockey club,” Matt Daly, club president said. “The transition back to a more open environment was welcomed, but we’ve remained conscientious about how we do things. For example, we no longer provide water bottles for the team. Everyone is required to bring their own water bottle.”

  Season goals are important to make a team grow stronger and achieve plenty.

  “A season goal for us is to make a deep run in the playoffs,” Matt Cuda, varsity head coach said. “One of our biggest strengths is that we have a very strong 1st line that gives us a lot of scoring and puts us ahead of a lot of games.”

  With changes, teams learned the difference between at-home training and in-person training.

  “During the pandemic all the local hockey rinks were closed,” Cuda said. “Our players took it upon themselves to train at home. This included running, shooting pucks, and stickhandling at their own pace.”

  Even with the changes, the teams are feeling confident, looking forward to being back and skating with their friends this season.

  “Last year’s quarantine almost shut down the program because we barely had enough players to make a team. This year we are back to a JV and Varsity team. We are hoping to grow to three teams in the future,” junior Nathan Brechtel said. “We have a lot of new players this year and are still getting used to playing together. But every game we’re playing better together.”

  Something that helps players strive for excellence is by having competition.

  “Our division in the Illinois High School League (ISHL) has seven teams and there’s considerable parity in the division. We’re currently 5-4 and sitting in the middle of the pack,” Jeff Schmidt, junior varsity and varsity head coach said. “The competition at the tournaments is also stiff because they attract clubs from around the country.”

  With all the sports this year, congratulating the players brings up their confidence.

  “It’s really fun to watch,” senior Parker Peszynski said. “It would really bring the morale up if we had people cheering in the stands.”

  Students can go to to register and/or find dates to come to support the team.

  “Games are almost always on Saturdays and Sundays, but occasionally we’ll have a game during the week,” Schmidt said. “We also play in three tournaments, two of which are out of state (one in Holland, MI, and the other in Madison, WI).”

  Drills are very effective and important to put into practice.

  “We change the plan for every practice and try not to repeat the same drills too often. We also keep them moving the whole time and transitioning from one drill to another every ten minutes or so,” Schmidt said. “And, we always end practice with a fun, competitive, game-like splitting the players into two teams that race each other to score on breakaways or by doing relay races. The idea is to build healthy competition while also building team morale.”

  Plenty goes into playing hockey.

  “Hockey is not necessarily a sport you can just pick up. There is a lot of skill that goes into playing hockey,” Cuda said. “If you are looking to join a hockey team your first step is to learn how to skate. It may take a while for you to master the skill of skating.”

  Practices are held to a high standard but the team has fun skating together.

  “Practices are very high pace and physically demanding. We hold our players to a very high standard,” Cuda said. “You should expect to give 110% every time you step on the ice.”

  The team has been working hard together to accomplish their goals and support is an important factor to them.

  “We would like the school to support us more and love to see more fans at our games,” Brechtel said. “Also, the more support we get, the easier it would be to recruit players.”

  Players are learning, growing, facing challenges, meeting goals, and socializing with each other. Hockey means something important to people.

  “I think hockey is a great sport and it is giving the kids an amazing opportunity to represent their schools while competing,” Daly said. “It teaches a lot of life lessons for the players like teamwork, sportsmanship, and the benefits of hard work. I hope all of the kid’s that have come through our program look back on their time fondly.”

  The players feel the time spent at the rink is worth it. It’s fun to see friends, support each other, and feel the crisp air.

  “We always try to keep a positive environment around our club,” Cuda said.

  Members enjoy their time helping out and watching events.

  “I enjoy being president of the hockey club. I have been a board member for three years, the last two serving as President,” Daly said. “I get a lot of satisfaction volunteering for the club when I see our kids on the ice competing, developing, and winning games.”