Clear the white board and put away the practice jerseys, the Hawks’ men’s hockey season is about to kick off.
The Hawks will be playing in its first of four hockey tournaments this year on Thursday and Friday.
The tournament will be held at the Hawks’ practice facility at Westwood arena, just north of Humber College on Humber College Boulevard. The Hawks will host colleges such as the Seneca Sting, the Fleming Knights and the Laurier Golden Hawks for the first championship title.
The Hawks say they’re itching with excitement for their first game together after nearly two months of try-outs and practicing.
Recreational coordinator Jennifer O’Reilly says it can sometimes be difficult to build chemistry with the yearly team turnover.
“Our teams don’t roll over from season to season,” O’Reilly said. “It could be a completely new or different team from year to year or tournament to tournament.”
Of the 23-man roster, the Hawks have seven returning players of the 18 allowed to dress for any given game. Most of them played in junior levels of hockey growing up.
However, even with the turnover, Brett McCully, the team’s head coach and former Humber Recreation and Leisure graduate, does not seem to be worried about team chemistry.
McCully is counting on his systematic and aggressive practices as the best way to emulate real game tempo but knows the game itself will display the team’s chemistry.
“Lot of flow drills and create a lot of mini-games,” he said. “We don’t have that many games so we have to create them to get game ready.”
This year the Hawks have a range of players, the youngest aged 18 to the eldest, Bill Lochhead, 26. A gritty right winger, Lochhead has been playing Junior A hockey since he was 16 years old. He says he knows chemistry can take time, but he loves the coach’s style and is getting to know his new linemates thanks to mutual teamwork and respect from the younger players.
“They listen and they actually ask for advice too,” said Lochhead, a General Arts and Science student after graduating from Sports Management. “This one kid just turned 18, he always asks and says, ‘tell me what I’m doing wrong so I can improve.’”
The team will also be playing in tournaments at Seneca College on Jan. 18, at Wilfred Laurier University Brantford on Feb. 1 and at Peterborough’s Fleming College on Feb. 15.