Hockey Coach Praises “Brotherhood” of Team for Season’s Success

Hockey Coach Praises Brotherhood of Team for Seasons Success

Lily Arkens, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Notre Dame’s hockey team is currently undefeated at 14-0-0. They are also ranked number one in the state and in the Fox River Classic Conference. 

Notre Dame won over rival BayPort in overtime with a score of 2-1, giving them the Boys Game of the Week title under Wisconsin Prep Hockey. 

“We have a great group of leaders. We also have a bunch of selfless players that are all holding each other accountable for improving daily. I am more proud of our group for the way they are handling success and preparing for big games knowing we are a targeted and circled team each season,” said Head Coach Cory McCracken. 

McCracken has been in this program for 16 years and has “changed and adapted the program” over the years as a coach. 

This year’s senior captains are Hunter Bill, Joseph Gertbitz, Brenden Gruber, Quinn Koszarek and Michael Mcintee. 

“I have noticed that one strength of our team is the brotherhood we have developed. Even with the first-year players, we have welcomed a great group of kids who fit right in,” said Gerbitz. 

Koszarek’s leadership skills have changed in the way he views things and the way he treats his teammates. 

“You can say one thing to one person, but then you might not be able to say it to another teammate,” said Koszarek. 

Sophomore Sam Kappell has scored the most goals this year, leading the Tritons with a total of 17. Sophomore Drew Shock has added his fair share to the scoring by assisting on 23 of the Tritons goals, and senior Hunter Bill is leading the team in points with an outstanding 29. 

Kappell won Green Bay Press-Gazette Athlete of the Week in early December and described it as “a great feeling.”

Sophomore Anton Widas is leading the team with a Goalie Save Percentage of .968, which converts to 96%. Goalie Save Percentage is to measure the amount of saves a goal has by the number of shots. 

“I’ve built better relationships with some teammates than others, like Lleyton Jaschke. Although he is my number one competitor, I’ve gotten really close to him, and now he is a very good friend of mine. It is very important to have a relationship with the whole team since hockey is very much a team game,” said Widas. 

Widas praised Jaschke, saying, “Lleyton has been playing well this year and doing very well against the higher-skilled teams.” 

McCracken has evolved his coaching style over the past several years to keep it on the modern side. 

“Our players keep evolving and want to play the modern game. The modern game is puck possession and is played with skill and speed. We try to incorporate what we see in the juniors, college and pro games,” said the coach. 

This team plays an up-tempo game style that is fun for them. McCracken likes to make it an environment where the kids are excited to play and come to the rink every day. When the team has success he notices that individual players also have success.

“The success this group has is not by accident.  If someone could show me a harder-working or more committed group of young men, I would be very surprised,” said McCracken.