Angie Wysocki

Senior Captain Alex Schnieder watches from the bench as the hockey team takes on Grosse Pointe South High School. “Bonding this preseason really has helped with our team chemistry,” Schneider said. “We became friends, rather than just teammates.” As of press time, the team began the season with a 3-1 record, their only loss coming Grosse Pointe South High School.

With only seven players returning from the team that reached State Quarterfinals last season, the Men’s Varsity Hockey team faces off with 15 new faces on their team.

“It was difficult at first, because more than half of our team was new,” senior Captain Eric VanSlembrouck said. “This is the most seniors our team has lost in the last few years.”

Returning players bonded with new members by playing six square, ping pong and eating team meals before each game. The team met in the spring and spent the rest of the year connecting with one another.

“Bonding helped our team with chemistry on the ice,” senior Captain Alex Schneider said. “We became friends, rather than just teammates.”

Schneider and VanSlembrouck led the team bonding, ensuring every teammate was involved and hosted boys nights and ministicks tournaments with the team.

“It was hard at first, because Schneider and I were two of the youngest kids on the team last year and right away this year we had to step in to lead the team,” VanSlembrouck said.

VanSlembrouck and Schneider eased into the captain positions easily, according to Coach Bob Hall.

“Eric and Alex were clear leaders from the start of the preseason,” Hall said. “They treat everyone well and are always willing to offer help to any kids on the team.”

Of the team’s 22 athletes, 11 kids who joined Varsity this year played for JV last season. This made for an easy transition, according to Hall, because they knew how the system worked.

“I wasn’t worried coming into the season because of how strong our JV program has been recently,” Hall said. “The new kids knew what I was expecting of them and have learned the systems.”

The team started with a record of 3-1, their only loss coming to Grosse Pointe South High School, as of press time.

“We had really successful spring and fall seasons and our hard work has continued over to the winter season,” Schneider said. “This team is like a family and we play like it on the ice.”