Ice hockey club places third in states

Nicole Prus, Online Editor

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Alea Jennings
Gliding down the ice, senior Hamilton Reese eyes the puck in a player’s stick Feb. 6 at AdventHealth Center Ice. The hockey team placed third at States last year.

Skates glide quickly across the ice to pass the puck amongst teammates to score a goal. At Ice Sports Forum Rink, where the team is led by Coach Dax Burkhart, this is a reality for hockey club members who practice there once a week.  

“Me being Canadian, I have always played hockey, and when I moved to Florida, I decided to continue my career,” freshman goalie Lukas Renaud said. “I hope to one day play on any college that has a Division 1 team.” 

Before practices, the hockey players use raw eggs and protein powder as a mix to drink before to work as a pre-workout. As for physical exercise training, they do a routine of legs, core work and then upper body workouts. 

“At first I was a big soccer guy, but once I started watching the Lightning on TV, I wanted to try out hockey more and more, so I decided to try playing hockey,” junior winger Carpenter Mooney said. “It was super fun, so I stuck with it.” 

States were Feb 22-24 at the Panthers Den in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The team placed third. Coach Burkhart provided insight on what it’s like to be the coach of the team. 

“The most rewarding part of coaching is teaching the players skills to play as a team and see them execute together in a game” 

The hockey team plays every Friday from 6:30-9:45 p.m. 

“I love scoring goals and the satisfaction of a big hit,” sophomore center Cassidy Amesbury said.  

The ice hockey club is an opportunity to connect with people as a team and develop a passion for the sport. 

“It’s a great way to meet new people from all grade levels,” senior goalie and team captain Troy Burkhart said. “We only practice once a week, so it’s not a huge commitment. Of course, it is also a lot of fun, and we placed third in the state last year.” 

The league is run by the Tampa Bay Lightning, who took over as part as a plan to help build a hockey community in Tampa. The organization has given away free tickets to players on the team. Ex-NHL players such as forward Nikita Alexeev, goalie Mathieu Garon and assistant coach Jeff Halpern help out at practices.  

“Hockey has taught me sportsmanship, teamwork and patience,” Troy Burkhart said.