Hockey players making moves and shooting for goals

Lily Matthews and Celeste Noraian

Traveling to the far reaches of Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, Arizona, and even Slovenia, these hockey players do it all.

They practice for three hours each day, an hour and a half both on and off the ice. Time on the ice includes drills such as stickhandling and passing pucks. Off the ice, practice includes strength and conditioning circuits. After practice, they stretch.

Junior Jack Kolb plays for the Chicago Fury, a Tier I AAA Elite team. J. Kolb has played for multiple teams throughout his hockey career, and his love for hockey has remained. He loved it so much he even traveled all the way to Slovenia to play for the Select Team at a tournament.

“Hockey is the best sport in the world,” Kolb said. “It teaches you a lot about the real world: If you want to keep going somewhere in life, you have to persevere. Even if it’s not fair.”

Junior Jack Newcomer is also a leader both in the classroom and on the ice. After receiving several concussions and constant migraines, Jack Newcomer continues to play hockey for the love of the game.

“Hockey has definitely developed my leadership skills, as I was captain of my team,” Newcomer said.

Kolb’s brother, Matt, is a freshman. Matt, along with peers Andrew Woodward and Zach Mohammed, are balancing their first year of high school while playing hockey on their travel teams. M. Kolb and Z. Mohammed also play for the Chicago Fury and have to travel up north for practices and games.

“It’s not that hard [to balance school work and practice],” M Kolb said, “I just do all of my homework in the car.”

For most of these athletes, hockey began at a young age.

“I tried it out when I was four and I just fell in love with the game,” Jack Lindstrom said. Lindstrom was inspired to play by his dad who played in college.

When one person in the family plays hockey, it seems they all do. Lindstrom inherited the game from his father, and Zach Mohammed followed his older brother, Shawn Mohammed, into the sport.

S. Mohammed is a senior right wing who plays for the Romeoville Huskies.

“My favorite part about hockey is the team atmosphere,” S. Mohammed said.

Hockey is also a family affair for the Woodwards. Andrew Woodward’s sister, Maddie Woodward, a sophomore, competes as a center. She has been playing for eight years, and is currently playing for the Girls Central Illinois Revolution.

Photo courtesy of Andrew Meyer

Seniors Austin Keil, Andrew Meyer, and Lindstrom plan to continue playing hockey in college, ranging from Division I to Division II schools. Meyer is a goalie and will play for Illinois State, a Division II school. Keil, a left wing, and Lindstrom, a right wing, are still undecided.

Hockey is a time consuming, dangerous, and challenging sport. But these athletes thrive on their passion for the game.

“It’s the greatest sport on the planet. It’s a fast pace game; it’s non-stop and full of action. It’s simply exhilarating.” J. Kolb said.