BY KYLEE MCFARLAND & JACK MCGONAGLE (‘18)
It’s a new season for Newark Generals Hockey and they have one goal in mind: a state championship. They’ve made a run the past three years with this group of seniors, and this year, the goal is no different.
Last year the team was 14-4-6 in the regular season. They finished their season in the semifinals of the CBJ Cup with a loss to Dayton. They hope to avenge that loss this year and move on to the state championship.
Before they can get to the state championship, though, they will have to be successful in the regular season..
“To me, every game is the biggest game because every win is a puzzle piece to the state championship,” senior Will Danby said.
Other team members have different games they’re focused on.
“I’m definitely looking forward to the game against Saint Charles coming up on a Thursday,” senior Gus Ahrendt said.
“First we have to take care of all the games against Dayton, then we can focus on the Blue Jackets Cup,” senior Patrick Chaykowski said. “After that we’ll play our biggest game of the year, the state championship.,” Chaykowski said.
That group of seniors is back for one last run at the coveted state championship and they all think the team has one main strength.
“We’re all very fast skaters, which helps allow us to apply a lot of pressure on the other team throughout the game,” Danby said.
There is a certain vibe to being on this team that Chaykowski loves.
“I love the brotherhood we all have because we’re all really good friends,” Chaykowski said.
Senior Ryan Dickerson has a different opinion about what it’s like to be a part of the team.
“I’ve played alongside these guys for many years, which gives us great team chemistry and adds to our effectiveness on the ice,” Dickerson said.
The players feed off their energetic fans and enjoy their presence as they cheer the team on to victory.
“They provide great energy, especially when we have some big hits and they go crazy,” Danby said.
They bring excitement and cheering when they bang on the glass, which pumps the guys up for the game, according to Chaykowski.
“The fans are a huge help, especially at home games. We like to see the support for our team by fellow classmates and they really help motivate us to do well in games,” Dickerson said.
The team’s coach, Kyle Thomas has a special philosophy for his players.
“We prioritize ourselves on a couple things. These include effort, execution and fundamentals. Our goal is to execute them flawlessly through working really really hard,” Thomas said.
Thomas has had many jobs prior within the Generals organization.
“This will be year ten,” Thomas said. “I’ve been head coach for the last two years and was co-head coach the two years prior and before that I was with the varsity and JV. ”
The team works very hard to gel and be efficient.
“We do two sessions a week, which includes practice on Mondays for about an hour, followed by a fundamentals session, which is just developing individual skills for about another hour,” said Thomas. “On Wednesday, we do an eighty minute ice session.”
The coach and his team are all on the same page about their season.
“We talk about varsity hockey and the connection to high school and those life lessons that transfer with the kids that they can develop and actually use later on as they become adults,” said Thomas. ”Our goal for the season is to always win early, win a state championship and beyond that advance on to the national championship tournament.”
The team plays on Thursdays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. at Lou & Gib Ice Arena in Newark, Ohio. Admission is free to all.
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