Elder varsity hockey salutes the U.S. Military vs. Alter


Elder High School is known for its academics, athletics, and especially its emphasis on tradition. A continued tradition is that of many alumni serving in all five branches of the United States Military. Since Elder’s early days, alumni have proudly served in every major war the U.S. has been involved in, from World War II to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Last year, Elder honored its Vietnam War casualties by unveiling memorial plaques at a special Mass. This year, the Panthers’ hockey team honored Elder military veterans and all armed forces veterans with the 2nd Annual Elder Hockey Military Day game.

The Military Day game was at Sports Plus in Evendale on Sunday, December 15th. Clad in their special purple camouflage jerseys, the Panthers hit the ice to play a fellow GCL school, the Alter Knights from Kettering. The team was in high hopes, recalling a 3-1 victory over the Knights in a pre-season scrimmage.

Bobby Wynn after making a great save
Bobby Wynn after making a great save

The first quarter was quite uneventful, with a score of 0-0 at the end of the first. After both teams got off the ice, a black carpet was unraveled onto the rink. The announcer then proceeded to read the names of seven present Elder veterans. They included John Bell and Sam Whisman of the Navy, Ben Hetzel of the Marines, Alex Hickey of the Air Force, and Doug Poland and Jordan Sommer of the Army. Lastly, Elder hockey’s very own Coach Sovern was thanked for his service in the U.S. Army. When asked about his military service, Mr. Sovern gave an interesting account about his time as a military policeman.

“I served in the US Amy between 1983 and 1993. I left the Army with the rank of Major. I was an officer in the Military Police Corps. While in the service, I served in a number of different roles. As a brand new Lieutenant, I was a Platoon Leader for the largest Military Police Company in the Army. This was a large security force at one of the Army’s most sensitive/ secure areas.”

Mr. Sovern added, “Later, I served at the Military Police School , where I was an instructor and training developer for courses related to security and anti-terrorism. While there, I also served as a company commander for a basic training company. Lastly, I served as a company commander for a recruiting company in Cincinnati.”

After the short ceremony, the game resumed. The second period was not much better than the first with an ending score of 1-0, with Alter in the lead.

Senior Jarod Schoenung in the third period
Senior Jarod Schoenung in the third period

The third period was tense and showed the grit that both teams had. When the Knights scored their second unanswered goal, there was fear that the Panthers would get shutout. However, Elder would have none of that and Junior Eric Mazza scored a goal for the men of the purple and the white. Juniors Brady Schultz and Evan Deller both had assists.

At the game’s end, the final score was a 2-1 victory for Alter. Both of the two GCL teams played well and they were a good match for each other. Coach Sovern said, “Unfortunately, we did not come away with the victory, but our team played with a lot of passion” and “As an inexperienced team, I am very impressed with how committed our players are to achieve improvement and success.”

Even though the Panthers lost in the end, they weren’t shutout either. Regardless of the game’s outcome, Elder hockey and its fans still paid due respect to veterans of the U.S. military that day. It was yet another example of how much Elder High School values our country’s military veterans.