The Press Newspaper
Winning the C Division championship at the Cold Turkey Thanksgiving Holiday Tournament at Tam-O-Shanter did more for Eastwood's club hockey team than just garner it a trophy.
"It gained us some respect," said sixth-year coach Brian Contris, a 1993 Eastwood graduate. "A lot of teams look at us as just a team of players who were cut or just weren't good enough to make other teams. These guys are all very good high school hockey players.
"The majority, if not all of them, could play on an organized high school hockey team if that's what they chose to do."
The Eagles beat Garfield Heights Trinity, Whitmer, and Fremont Ross to advance to the Cold Turkey title game, then beat Whitmer again for the championship.
Through Dec. 16, the Eagles, an independent team, had a 9-1 record with wins over Fremont Ross (twice), Central Catholic and Ottawa Hills. Their only loss is a 7-2 decision against Perrysburg, which was picked to finish second behind Bedford (Mich.) in the Northwest Hockey Conference's White Division.
Bob Abbey was an assistant coach in track and football at Lake High School when
the school district was trying to pass an operating levy in the mid-2000s.
After several failed attempts to pass the levy, voters approved a 6.75-mill, five-year operating levy in August 2006. By that time, however, many Lake students had transferred to other local high schools in order to play sports or be involved in other extracurricular activities.
Dave Shaffer, Lake's director of athletics, said the Flyers "lost approximately 150 kids district-wide."
Included in that group were several standout athletes. Abbey, who became the Flyers' head football coach beginning with the 2007 season, said his team lost "probably five kids who were starters at our school."
"Those were good kids, hard workers, quality individuals and good football players at the varsity level," Abbey said. "And then they leave. That leaves a big hole, not just that year but a couple years down the road. You lose leaders on the practice field and in the locker room.
If Lake's club hockey team is to end its conference championship drought, it will definitely be a team effort.
Third-year coach Craig Horvath returns nine players from last year's team, which finished 7-4-2 overall and 5-4-1 in the Blue Division of the Northwest Hockey Conference. The Flyers are 6-0-1 this season, which includes exhibitions.
"I thought we'd do real well this year," Horvath said. "They're doing better than I thought. This year, anybody can score a goal or get an assist or make a play. Last year, it was two or three guys I could count on. This year, it can be any one of nine guys.
"We don't have a lot of guys, but somebody steps up and carries the load every night. It's a total team effort. I can't stress team enough."
Lake last won a Blue Division title in 2005.
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