Ice hockey slides into new season


Hockey players gather to discuss the upcoming games this season. Pictured, left to right: senior Julien Demers, junior Robert Fernandes, senior Cody Heiser.

Trevor Nichols, staff writer

The players skid across the ice, both nimble and powerful. With every huffing breath visible in the air, sweat gluing the jerseys to their skin, the players seem to be sprinting on a track of diamonds. It seems to be hard work, but nobody complains. It is cold, but nobody shivers. Night falls outside, but nobody notices. Overall, it is a normal practice for the hockey team.

The team has to overcome limitations and stumbling blocks in many aspects of the game. There is no ice rink in Cinco Ranch—or all of Katy—that the hockey team can practice in, forcing the players to gather their equipment and lug it to practice in Sugarland every Monday. They don’t receive widespread support or recognition. The sport is exhausting, the season is long, the rink is freezing, the practice is demanding, the breakneck pace is punishing, the opposing teams’ spectators are fierce, and the competition is brutal. Emotions run as high as the temperatures run low. And the team loves it.

“It’s not hard to get there if you’re dedicated to your sport,” senior forward Cody Heiser said.

Hockey is a sport of extremes. It requires speed and strength, precise timing and skull-crushing force, quick thinking and split-second coordination.

“In hockey, you don’t have time to think,” junior defenseman Nolan Hurd said. “If you take the time to stop and think, you’ll get left behind. You have to be good enough to act on instinct.”

Hockey’s five month season proves longer than most seasonable sports. After having a game every Sunday from Oct. 16 to Dec. 18, they take a single week off for winter break, and then play every Sunday after that until the end of the season.

“From the first drop to the last stop, we go hard,” junior center Robert Fernandes said.


According to its players, the hockey team gets surprisingly little recognition for such an accessible and crowd-pleasing sport.

“Hockey’s less popular at Cinco because it’s less known in Texas,” junior defenseman Luke Hamilton said.

Despite the regional disadvantages of playing hockey in Texas, team members are confident that more fans will soon be attracted to their weekly games.

“It takes less time to get to some games than it does to get to Rhodes Stadium when it’s packed,” senior left wing Julien Demers said.

Just like the members of the team, the fans that do come to the games tend to be extremely passionate about the sport. They typically are a miscellaneous scatter of family of the hockey players, friends, and avid hockey fans. The one thing similar to all of them is their complete dedication.

“We’re going to have a flag runner this year,” Fernandes said. “His name’s Logan, and he’s a special needs kid. He really loves hockey, and we’re happy to have him as a proud supporter of the team.”

This dedication is obvious in the stands, as excitement spreads from the rink to the spectators.

“Spectators can get rowdy,” Demers said. “It gets pretty intense.”

This rowdiness extends beyond the spectators. Hockey is famous for the fights that tend to break out during games, and high school hockey is no exception. For many players, a game without fiery crowds and players is as difficult to imagine as a game without a puck.

“It’s just a sport filled with emotion and passion,” Demers said. “We do get into some scuffles every once in a while.”

In all the passion and excitement going full-tilt throughout the season, dramatic moments are common.

“When we won two years ago, the score was 0-0, and it went into overtime.”  Demers said. “When we scored, it was a beautiful moment.”

In predicting their success in the competitions this year, team members are optimistic.

“We expect to do very well this year,” Demers said. “We should clinch a spot in regionals, definitely at least top four.”

The team also hopes to do well in state competition, which is being held in Houston this year.

“We’re taking it,” Heiser said.

Whether it is state competition, a district game or even just a practice, the team will continue to work hard to achieve success.

“It’s really cool to see a nice play unfold,” Demers said. “The players and the fans get really excited.”

As fans and players watch the season unfold, they expect future games to be teeming with action and suspense. They are not likely to be disappointed.