December 12th, 2018

Trinity and St.X Ice Hockey on the rise

Samantha Stallings

Staff Writer


Trinity and St.X Ice Hockey on the rise
Trinity hockey team practicing at Iceland / photo by Samantha Stallings

Did you know that at one time Professional Ice Hockey was a big deal in Louisville? Much like Louisville FC the Hockey faithful sat rink side in Broadbent Arena watching the Louisville Icehawks (1990-1994).

The mascot was called Tommy Hawk, a play on tomahawk, and resembled The San Diego Chick. For a period of time the Louisville Icehawk's parent team/NHL Affiliate were the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Ice Hockey was a big part of the city of Louisville from 1995-1998, and after time they changed affiliations and became known as the Louisville River Frogs, but the boys at Trinity and St. Xavier won’t remember them. That’s right, they were not yet born.

Trinity and St. X have their own ice hockey programs, and are the only true high school teams in the state of Kentucky. The other high school teams in the state are made up of kids from different schools, essentially they are “all-star” teams.

“I would love to see hockey grow and have more teams here. In the WHOLE state of Kentucky and our league there are only seven teams. About three quarters of our games are out of state, whether we play teams from Ohio, Indianapolis, or down in Nashville,” said Geoff Norman, Head Coach of Trinity High School. “Right now there are a lot of kids here (Iceland) playing at the youth level for the squirts and the mites and we keep growing it. I would love to see other high school teams. At one time probably about five years ago Eastern, Oldham County and other high schools had teams.”

The players don’t mind the travel, they actually feel like the travel really helps them bond as a team and that’s where some of their best memories come from when playing for their respective schools.

Louisville, and Kentucky at that isn’t known for being a huge area for ice hockey, but both St.X coach Patrick Sullivan, who is from Louisville, and Trinity coach Norman, who is originally from Vancouver,Canada have always been involved in hockey.

“I got a hockey stick for Christmas when I was five or six and I never put it down. Shortly after that I got involved with ice hockey and just really loved the game,” said Sullivan. “I played on the travel teams here in Louisville growing up and then played for St. X , while playing for travel teams. I ended up going to college and playing for Kentucky.”

Both coaches want to see the Louisville community grow to love the sport of ice hockey again like it did when the River Frogs were here.

A lot of the boys on St.X and Trinity didn’t pick up the sport of ice hockey till joining the hockey team at their respective high schools. Alec Stacy, who is a senior on St.X didn’t pick up a stick till his sophomore year and it is all because his friends were already on the team. Wesley Dosh, who plays for the Tigers, picked up the sport when he was in eighth grade all because he saw his friends playing too. Then you have players like the Tiger’s Justin Mikulec and the Rocks’ Christopher Kolivab, whose dads are from up north, have a love for the game and got their sons involved with the sport at a very early age.

Both St.X and Trinity ice hockey programs are no cut sports and welcome any boy who wants to go try and play hockey.  They teach the sport from the beginning with the fundamentals of the game and both coaches agree that is where the uphill battle is. With the whole league being a varsity league they have to find the balance of teaching, competing and having fun.

“We get a lot of kids who want to do a sport, but they don’t necessarily want to run track, or wrestle or participate in the other no cut sports, so they come see what hockey is all about,” said Sullivan. “When they come see the game it really opens their eyes to a really fascinating game. There are so many fasciitis to it that are just intriguing. “

Trinity has the largest roster they have had since Norman has started coaching the Rocks with 22 players.

“I go back three years ago when we only had 13. USA Hockey only allows us to dress 20 players so it’s a bit of a challenge sometimes to see who’s going to play and who’s going to dress, but we are a no cut sport,” said Norman. “Next year we are going to lose seven seniors and right now I only know of about four freshman coming in. You never know from year to year how many players you are going to have.”

Popularity and participation of hockey have increased around the world in the last two years, and as in any sport the growing interest translates into increased participation at the grassroots level. As participation increases, so too does the level of talent. The players and their coaches would love to see more of their friends come out and cheer them on just like if they were playing any other sport.

St.X and Trinity have already played each other once this season with the Rocks defeating the Tigers 9-2. The teams will face each other again on February 8th at Iceland.

The next game the Tigers play at Iceland will be on December 14th at 6:30 p.m. against the Louisville team that consist of boys from all different high schools in the city. The next time the Rocks play at Iceland will be January 11th at 6:30 p.m. against the Louisville team.

 

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