15 February 2017
With an overall record of 10-9-1 and a spot in the top ten of the Big North Conference, the Hornet Ice Hockey team made it to States for the 2016-2017 season. The team started off the season with a 6-1 win against Fair Lawn and outscored Paramus Catholic 5-2 paving their way to States.
Even though this year the team has been doing well, head coach Mr. Michael Sheehan still believes that there needs to be improvement. “Yeah, we’re always looking to improve. We’re not number one. So we’re always looking to improve. I think the biggest thing is we need to continue to work on our conditioning in the off season, our strength training in the off season and we need to get a little bit faster and a little bit stronger.”
Mr. Sheehan holds many practices to help the team get better and stronger in preparation for States. Some practices require players to wake up at 5 o’clock in the morning and head to Floyd Hall at Montclair State University to work on their skills. He also likes to put the players in competitive situations during practices.
Mr. Sheehan gives the team a short speech before and after a game. “With this group, we’re really trying to focus on our game. I think the thing to remind the guys of is that we can’t just show up and expect to win. I think that’s what happened to us a couple of times this year,” Sheehan explained. After each game they do a quick recap and talk about what they did well and what they need to work on for the next game to come.
The hockey team, made up of mostly juniors from a middle school program the team started back in 2013, is co-opted with Cedar Grove High School. Even though there are two schools playing on one team, everyone knows each other. “The team works well together; we’re like brothers,” saidDan Lapinski ’18, a forward in his third year playing hockey.
For anyone wanting to join the hockey team or to pursue the career of playing professional hockey, Mr. Sheehan suggests starting early. “That’s the biggest thing. The successful teams are kids that started in elementary school. It’s very hard to come up and start playing hockey, even in seventh and eighth grade, never mind freshman [year], and be successful at it. It takes a lot of practice.”
Catch Mr. Sheehan and the Hornets Ice Hockey team vie for the Big North Bronze Cup Championship on February 17, 2017 at 6:45 at Ice Vault in Wayne, New Jersey and their first state game on February 20, 2017 at 2:15 at Protec Ponds in Somerset, New Jersey.
Wishing them the best of luck! Go Hornets!