Throughout sports, a championship is a symbol of accomplishment after a season of hard work and dedication, defeating the toughest team in the league in order to obtain the status of world champions. However, the team that wins a championship knows that everyone will watch them next season to see if they can retain their superpower status, hoping not to fall into obscurity and let another team become the greatest in the league.
Last season, the Jesuit Hockey Team had an extraordinary season, managing to win both the city and the state championships. They ended the season with a commanding 16-3 record, including a ten-game winning streak through the end of the season, which helped to carry them into the postseason. After winning the state championship, they became eligible for the national tournament where they went 2-1, but they unfortunately did not accumulate enough points to advance to the championship round.
Commenting on what he learned from last season, Goalie George McBey ’16 said, “even with the little experience most of the guys had, we were able to come together and do some pretty special things,” and added that “overall, I learned that no matter what grade level each of us were in, we could bring our talents together to put together a great season.” Coach Kevin Smith also learned about how team chemistry affects the game, saying that “if you have a group of young men that care about each other off the ice they can accomplish so much more on the ice.”
The national tournament loss, although disappointing, provided motivation and more learning for the players, a point Carson Platt ’17 summarized as he remarked that “if we want to be the best, we need to look big picture, not just Dallas hockey,” and his fellow teammate McBey agreed, adding that he “took away the drive to get back to the national tournament and get that one point in order to move on and bring Jesuit a national championship.”
But now the team turns their attention away from last season and toward the upcoming season, looking to win a trip back to the national tournament. Coach Smith commented on the lack of experience on the team but remains hopeful in his younger players, saying that “we are very young this year so we will have some games where we struggle however I feel strongly that as the season moves along, those young players will develop and we will by fine.” On the other hand, McBey believes the wins will come down to who shows up to the games, commenting “with everyone in the lineup, there is no game we won’t be able to compete and get the chance for a win.”
The Rangers, although only losing one senior last year, will look to their younger members to make the bigger impact, since three former team members will not be playing this year because of select team commitments. On the other hand, there are a few juniors and seniors who are multiple-year veterans and who will lead the team throughout the season. Coach Smith noted that “our senior class is a very talented group” which includes veterans such as Louis Helsen, George McBey, Michael Schmidt, and Nick Mersch. McBey also notices how the seniors’ veteranship affects the team overall, saying, “I think after playing with each other for many years now definitely helps our chemistry because we know each other’s tendencies and where each other will be on the ice,” Platt, although a junior but also a three-year starter, agreed, adding that “we always know where each other are on the ice so making a play becomes 10 [times] easier.”
Hopefully the triumphant, yet disappointing end to the season last year will drive the Rangers to become a better team and bring more championships back to their school.
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