Any sports team will struggle with trust and confidence as a unit during their season, but most teams learn to get over this with time. The Northview/Comstock Park/Sparta hockey team is a multi-school team that has made this even more challenging, but players and coaches alike rose to the challenge.
In the past, the hockey team was only Northview players. Over time, many kids chose to stick with their travel team instead of playing for their school. This caused Northview and Comstock Park to create a team together, since both schools were facing the same problem. Then, Sparta was added to the mix, creating a three-school team.
“It can be tough sometimes,” senior Drake Thiessen said. He admitted that it would be nice if it was only Northview players on the team, but over the four years he has learned how to mesh with the other athletes.
“We’re hoping to finish above 500,” Thiessen said. This means the team will have won more games than they have lost, something that can prove difficult to do in such a long season. With six games under their belt, the team is looking good with a 4-2 record.
A factor that has helped the team at their home rink, Griff’s Ice House, has been the turnout of students from all three schools to cheer. Many are from Northview, and the players agree that it is fun to rile up a crowd that usually is nonexistent.
“They have helped motivate the team,” Thiessen said.
“We have really appreciated the students showing their support. Hopefully the student section continues to grow and continues to provide us with the best home ice advantage in the conference,” assistant coach Travis Nichol said.
Standout performances from certain players have also boosted the morale of the team, with senior Alex Christian having 17 goals in just seven games. He is currently in the top five for goals scored in the state, something he hopes to build on. Junior Riley Pitchure has also made a difference with his 11 assists, helping the team to win games by margins of up to eight goals.
Even if a multi-school team may seem like a challenge for most, the boys of the Northview/Comstock Park/Sparta hockey team are proving this to be wrong. As the season pushes forward, they hope the students will continue to support them and are looking to have one of their strongest seasons yet.