Boys Hockey Team Focused on Road to State, Ranked 5th in Wisconsin

Boys Hockey Team Focused on Road to State, Ranked 5th in Wisconsin

Meghan Yakel, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Notre Dame Academy is well known for success in athletics, and one of the most popular and well attended sporting events happens to be boys hockey.

The boys hockey team has been very successful in the past and has continued to thrive throughout the years. Of course, you cannot be a good team without a good coach.

Varsity hockey head coach, Cory McCracken, earned the title “WHCA Bob Johnson Coach of the Year” in 2012 and “Section 5 Coach of the Year” in 2010 and 2013.  He serves on the Coaches Association Board of Directors and is involved in the Wisconsin Amateur Hockey Player Development Program.

McCracken started coaching the NDA boys hockey team in 2005.

“It was an opportunity to build a program from the ground up,” McCracken said. He also admits that he enjoys being around 14-18 year old athletes who want to get better and work hard.

“Our young men are excited every day to be at the rink,” McCracken said. He enjoys watching his players have success as part of the team and as individuals.

Coach McCracken admits that although the team has been very successful in the past, they are faced with some of the same challenges each year.

“I would say that getting our players to understand our expectations and what ‘good’ looks like is the baseline for the start of each season.  We have a certain style that we play and getting those habits started early is another primary challenge,” McCracken said. “Getting the team to start to work as a high-functioning team is the third piece of the yearly process.  Every team is different in their ability to become a highly functioning team.”

It is no secret that multiple hockey players from NDA have gone on to compete at the next level. Coach McCracken says, “First and foremost, you have to be extremely talented and skilled to even give yourself a chance.  When the skill and talent is there, then it becomes about the work ethic attached to becoming great when nobody’s looking. It is not by accident.”

“Great athletes are self-motivated and driven daily to be great,” he added.    

McCracken thinks that this year’s hockey team is good enough to advance to the state tournament in Madison to finish what they started in 2013 when they lost in the semi finals of the state tournament.

“Advancing to a state tournament is a very hard thing to do. Learning how to win is a hard thing to do as well. I do think we have as good a chance as any team in our section. Time to perform at a high level when the lights are the brightest,” he said.

The boys varsity hockey team consists of nine senior boys leading the pack: Mike Gregoire (Captain), Bryce Poshak (Assistant Captain), Jon Fry (Assistant Captain), Logan Braun, Grant Noble, Jacob Peterman, Matthew Kini, Paul Nash and Tyler Foytik. The hockey team’s record is currently 10-3-2, and they are ranked #5 in the state by Wisconsin Prep Hockey.