The weather is getting colder and football has come to an end, which can only mean one thing…it’s time to play some hockey.

This year the boys hockey team will have a different look. The team said goodbye to 10 graduating seniors, keeping just one captain from last year–senior George Meek–and bringing a new goalie to fill Lance Muir’s spot.

“It’s going to be a big change for me. I’ve never really played hockey without them. I will have to adjust and adapt according to what we need as a team. We all will need to be open-minded and step up,” said Meek.

Hockey practice starts next week, but getting ready for the season is a year-long commitment. Coach Jeremy McNulty knows this season will be tough but he has high hopes.

“We have a young team and we have to keep that in perspective while at the same time striving to do our best,” said McNulty.

At the October 15 parent-player meeting, he stressed three things: school, family and hockey. He feels all three are equally important and to be successful on the ice and that the players need to figure out a balance to all three.

“After graduating 10 seniors–and many of them being on the varsity squad–like many other teams in the area, we will be rebuilding our lines and working to form a cohesive team,” said McNulty

After four years, the Tigers will have a new varsity goalie position open. Sophomore Caden Skelding who hopes to fill the goalie position has also been preparing for the up and coming season.

“I’ve been practicing really hard, trying to get in shape, and doing the best I can. I’ve gone to a few goalie camps over summer and I’ve continued to work on my hand eye coordination,” Skelding said. “There’s a lot of pressure to be good, and I’m going to try to do the best I can.”

With the loss of so many players, the team is going to have to work hard to rebuild the chemistry.

“There’s going to be a few struggles because we don’t have a lot of chemistry coming into this season. We’re losing a lot of key players from last year, so we’re going to have to cope with that,” said Skelding.

Above and beyond their chemistry, the team will have different challenges than in recent years.

“Our strengths and weaknesses are linked together. We have a fairly young team. This means we are a group of people that can mesh for years to come. There are some quick players with good stick skills, but we are lacking in experience. There will be some learning in the early games, but I think the older players can lead by example. There’s only one way to get experience,” said Meek.

The season starts on Tuesday, November 20 on the Tiger’s home ice with a game against Medford. Following their opening game, they will travel to Tomah for the annual Holiday Tournament on November 23 and 24.

“We look forward to an exciting season and hope to see friends, family, and community members coming out to support the team,” said McNulty