It’s never easy trying to mesh players from different backgrounds or different walks of life into one cohesive unit.
It’s especially tough when those players are from St. Charles East, St. Charles North, Batavia and Geneva – with a splash of Kaneland and Wheaton Warrenville South thrown in for good measure.
Such is the case with the Fox Valley Hawks hockey team of the Illinois High School Hockey League (IHSHL). The Hawks are officially a combined team with players from six high schools.
The team, whose season began earlier this month, sports a 3-3 record and plays majority of its home games at the Fox Valley Ice Arena in Geneva.
“Playing on this team has been better for me actually this year,” Brett Roon, a junior defenseman from St. Charles East, said. “This is my first year on the team [after spending last season with a Hoffman Estates-based team]. I like this better because I am representing my school more. We are getting better, certainly, but we still need to get to know each other more on the ice. Off the ice, we get along great.”
Roon is one of six defensemen on the varsity team this season and will be counted on to keep the puck away from opposing teams along with sophomore Vitonio Brandonisio (Geneva) and Andrew Kielion.
Offensively, the Hawks are led by forwards Nathan Podraza (Batavia), Devin Spellman and Michael Potvin (Kaneland). Potvin feels the team has the potential to do some special things this season and make a run deep into the playoffs.
“I think we can do some great things this year,” he said. “We just have to mesh better together on the ice. We will be doing some more team-bonding activities over the next couple of weeks, which help us in the long run.”
Jonathon Durrbeck starts at goaltender, and will be backed up on occasion by Sidney Peters.
For Hawks coach Jim Quinn – who enters his eighth season behind the bench after stints with St. Charles North, the St. Charles co-op and last season’s North/East/Geneva/Burlington Central team – the challenges come merely from knowing the faces on his club.
“I know we can easily put three lines out on the ice with six defensemen,” Quinn said. “I am satisfied with the direction that the organization is going in as a whole. We have a real good chance to finish above .500 this year and will be in the hunt for a league, title I think.”
The Hawks will test themselves against defending combined state champion Glenbard at 4:10 p.m. Nov. 4 at Fox Valley.
Their holiday tournament schedule includes trips to Rolling Meadows (Thanksgiving) and Cincinnati (mid-January).