Most students have an understanding of the typical high school sport: it involves getting changed in the locker room after school, putting on gear, walking to practice and travelling to games or meets. Coached by Mike Lucchesi, the physical education teacher of Willard Elementary School, Ridgewood Boys Hockey is unlike most athletic programs at RHS. They are a club sports program, not directly run or funded by the school. The team instead funds itself, and is managed largely by a board rather than RHS athletics. This presents a number of challenges for the team, but also makes how it operates unique. Occasionally, it is difficult to reserve ice time to play and practice given the limited hockey facilities in the area. The team makes do with these issues as best as they can, however, finding windows of ice time at the Ice House in Hackensack to practice on most weeknights, and playing games at the Ice Vault in Wayne. While hockey players do manage to find a considerable amount of practice time, the rinks are not nearby. Bus fares, toll bills, and the challenge of time management add up to season more difficult than most at Ridgewood.
Regardless of the challenges the Ridgewood Hockey Team face, it has been one of the most successful teams at Ridgewood High School over the last decade. With last year’s record of 7-3-1, the team has brought a level of success that is matched by very few other programs at the school. The team lost last year’s state tournament, but not before winning the Big North Cup. New precedents for success have been set, and it is going to be difficult to fill the spots left by the graduating seniors from last year. This year’s captains JP Kelly, Justin Klatsky and Ryan Carius are working to fill the vacancies as best as they can.
Despite the team losing its first two games against Ramsey and West Milford, graduating seniors have already had an affect on the team’s performance. Expectations for a successful season continue, and the team hopes to meet them, especially in their next game against Ramapo on Friday, December 2nd.
Hockey has definitely become a winter sport to look out for, for both students and staff members, even if it is rather difficult to get to and from the games. The team is hopeful for a good season, and to continue what last year’s team started.
Graphic: Ryan Carius