The hockey team at Elder has always been on the bottom of the food chain for sports. Starting in 2002, the team began with a 7-10-2 record. Hockey has never been a big sport on the west side, mainly because of the absence of an ice rink. The nearest rink is the Cincinnati Gardens. The Gardens acts as a second home to all of the Ice Panthers, and the majority of practices and games take place there. To get more insight on how this year is looking, I interviewed Coach Sovern, Varsity coach of the Panthers. The first question for Sovern was what are the expectations for Varsity and JV this year? Sovern replied with, “I am expecting to improve in victories, to have a high scoring offense, and to also win our first playoff game.” Sovern seemed confident that the team IS going to improve in those aspects. The next question I had for Coach was who he thought the players to watch were this year on both Varsity and JV? Sovern had to ponder it for a moment, and then he proceeded to say that Seniors Nick Kollman, Nick Spicker, and Dominic Marsala were the players to watch, along with Junior A.J. Harvey. For JV, Sovern told me the players to watch were: Clay Sohngen (Junior), Sam Coffaro (Sophomore), and Austin Steimle (Junior). Sovern continued to talk about the determination and work ethic coming out of the team this year, his projected record for Varsity this year was 18-14, and JV with a projected 10 wins. Seniors Dominic Marsala and Nick Spicker (Goalie) were also interviewed. Spicker has been Elder’s ace goalie as of lately, and is looking forward to this season. He is looking forward to the X game and predicted “We will win our first playoff game, possibly two or three”. Spicker was asked who he thought would step up the year, he replied, “Little Erp (Evan Erpenbeck, Sophomore), Harvey (Junior), Warman (Senior), and Mengler(Senior)” Dominic Marsala, the head captain of the team, was interview next. Dominic has improved the team by motivating everybody to go to lifting and to work as a team. I asked Dominic what game caught his eye for this year, he said, “Senior night, there will be a lot of people there, and they will be giving stuff away, so… yeah. I’m also looking forward to the X game.” Dominic predicted both the JV and Varsity teams would do significantly better this season. Dominic was overwhelmed with the new responsibilities as captain, but he is ready for the job. The last person to be interview was Sam Coffaro (Sophomore), on the JV team. Sam was asked the question “What is the key to a winning season for JV this year”? Sam put a lot of thought into his response. “For this year’s JV hockey team, we need to really play as a team. That starts with the defense in my opinion. If Evan Deller, and the rest of the defenders stop the puck, then we will be successful. Then back to the goalie in Austin Steimle: he needs to really do a great job between the pipes, if he does what he is capable of doing, then we will really be successful. We then have the offensive players.” “Our starting line looks like it’s going to be myself, Clay Sohngen, and Eric Mazza. We really need to step it up and produce some goals this year. This starts with trust and experience. We need to really work hard in the off season to get some rhythm, and flow together. Pass, shoot, and score. Lastly, we need the freshman to really step it up and help out when they can. Most importantly, though, we need to have fun out there on the ice. If we aren’t having fun when we are playing, then we won’t be successful. We need to loosen up, and play how we are taught and we will be just fine! I can’t wait to lace up my skates this year and start playing some hockey.” Sam continued to stress the importance of the St. X and Sycamore games, and how those should be the wins we need to focus on. The last question I asked Sam was who the key players on JV were this year. Sam said, “Clay Sohngen and myself, I was the leading point scorer last year and Clay was right there with me. If we play the same this year, then we will be the leaders for sure. Eric Mazza is also a producer of points on this team, he does a great job and he finds ways to put pucks in the back of the net.” Overall, the people interviewed above were speaking to me in a confident voice. The Elder community has never had much information on the hockey team, but this year they are looking to make steps to become a dominant sport at Elder. In the eleventh year of the program, both teams look superb this year, and every player can’t wait to hit the ice.