State championship hockey team moves up to AA level

Winning season proves team is ready for another championship

Tyler Robinson, Staff Reporter

This is the Warrior hockey team’s fourth season since its return, and they are already ranked 15th in the state after winning the class A state championship last season.

“I think it will give us some confidence going into the year that maybe was not there at the beginning of last season. This season will have its challenges, having lost some very important players from last season, but I am confident that we have some guys who can step up and take on some of those roles,” said assistant coach Josh Belko.

This year, the hockey team are facing tougher teams because they will be moved up to AA. However, they have a strong presence in this level because

16 of their 22 players are returning, including top scorers Joe Vessely, sophomore, and Tyler Stailey, junior.

Assistant coach Joshua Belko said, “I think as a team, we have got some guys who can fill some of the spots that were left by our departing players, such as Alex Sobilo, but our area we need to
work on is to trust our speed and use it to our advantage and doing a better job of staying out of the Penalty Box.”

Their winning season is off to a 7-1-1 start, and they’ve defeated tougher schools like Brebeuf Jesuit in a two-game competition, where they out-scored the Braves 7-0. But they still see challenges against AAA teams, like Lake Central, who they lost to on Nov.
18, 1-10.

In terms of the team’s weaknesses, but Belko would like to see the team as a whole be more aggressive and do more hitting this year. If the team becomes more consistent playing the body, then
they will be a very tough team to play against and it will only make the offensive game better.

Belko’s main goals this season as a coach are to help all of the players improve on the ice and as people, but more importantly to make sure that the players are still have fun while playing.

“If it’s not fun then there is no point to playing,” says Belko.
After winning state the team has a lot of confidence going into the year.

This season will have its challenges, after losing some very important players from last season.

“Hockey is different from most sports in that your classification whether it be A, AA, AAA, or AAAA is based on
how you do during the season,” Belko said. “So there is always more to gain, especially having won at the A level last year.

This we are setting are sights on being a strong AA team and
improving our success last year.”
This year, five players attend Noll: junior Ty-
ler Stailey, sophomore; Joe Vessely, freshman; Jose Soto, freshman’ Sam Repay, and freshman Leilani Sanchez.

All other players are from local Indiana and Illinois high schools.

The boys will next play Fort Wayne Summit City on Jan. 13 at the Midwest Training and Ice center.