Photo courtesy of USA Today: Will Payne ’17, Tommy Spero ’17, Harrison Schreiber ’19 and the rest of the varsity hockey team celebrate a big win last season.
Coming into the 2016-2017 season, expectations are high for the Mamaroneck Varsity Ice Hockey team. Fresh off of its first ever state championship, the team returns ten players and is receiving an influx of new senior talent.
To live up to last season–the Tigers went 24-2–and return to the state championship, members of the team agree that the most important factor is hard work. As captain and starting goaltender Tommy Spero ’17 explained, “Being the defending state champion means that we have a target on our backs and we have to work twice as hard as we did last season. We have to work as a unit of one to be successful.” Will Payne ’17, also a captain, agreed that working as a team is important, stating that “everyone [on the team] needs to buy into what we’re trying to do. People will have to make sacrifices for the benefit of the team.”
Joining Payne and Spero as captains are James Torre ’17, Matt Dicicco ’17 and Michael Carducci ’18. Along with the other returners (Andrew Gargiulo ’18, Connor L e B l a n c ’17, Nick Campbell ’17, Harrison Schreiber ’19 and Max Plonsker ’17) they will try to acclimate new teammates and lead the team to victory.
When asked about the upcoming season, Coach Chiapparelli seemed optimistic and expectant in the capability of his players. “Well, we’d like to return to Buffalo to fight for the championship,” he remarked, “Which means we [have to] win our section and our regional game. With the talent we have coming back and [if] we keep working hard and take every game seriously, [I believe] we can do that.”
Luckily for the Tigers, the sixteen seniors on the roster should help the team along. “Seniors don’t like to lose, which is a good thing,” Chiapparelli said when asked about how many would be playing. “Having lots of seniors is actually a good thing. If we don’t have seniors it’s actually really hard to win.”
The large amount of seniors has also created a high level of competition for spots in the lineup, resulting in a higher level of play overall. “The seniors trying out are hungrier,” explained Payne. “The limited roster spots are making kids work as hard as they can on and off the ice.”
Though every game in the season is important, there are always a few matchups that stick out on the schedule. As Spero stated, “our biggest rivals coming into this season are Suffern, like always, Rye, Pelham and Scarsdale. Every one of those teams wants to beat us.” The Tigers will be hosting Rye on December 2, Scarsdale on December 15 and Suffern on January 6.
With the ice starting to heat up, the Tigers hope to ride their momentum and bring another championship back to Mamaroneck.
By Emma Sullivan