Both of Saint Paul Academy’s hockey teams began captains’ practices this past week in preparation for the winter season. As expected, this years’ winter season has led to many changes to the upcoming season. United Hockey began their annual captains’ practices last week despite not having announced its captains for the season. The team formerly partnered with Visitation, however, from now on, the team will be made up of players from Minnehaha Academy, De La Salle, St. Agnes, and Twin Cities Academy.
“Right now it’s really difficult to get used to our new setup because many of us SPA players don’t know our teammates very well. The recent practices consisted of mostly SPA players and it’s been really fun to be able to play with my team this year despite COVID-19. I’m really grateful we get to have a season this year as it’s most likely my last year playing hockey,” said Senior Erin Magnuson.
Normally at captains’ practices, the captains of the certain sport facilitate and run the practice with planned drills and exercises for the team. But this year it’s a little different for each sport as new rules and guidelines have been put in place to accommodate the recommended safety precautions in light of the pandemic. This means that both the girls and boys hockey teams must have a coach at every practice including captains practice to ensure COVID-19 regulations and rules are being followed.
“I’m looking forward to skating with new people and seeing my friends. I’m excited to work with the new co-op team,” junior Lucie Bond.
The SPA players have started playing at Minnehaha Academy’s hockey facilities instead of the SPA Drake Arena as they have in past years.
“It’s a bit weird switching from the Drake Arena to a new one. Our team was so used to using the Drake facilities and we knew the ins and outs of the space but now that we’ve switched it’s difficult to just adjust to the new arena and new location. It was also nice to have our practices and games at our own school before, but now we have to travel for each practice and game,” Magnuson said.
The boys’ hockey team, on the other hand, is continuing to co-op with the same players from recent years in their upcoming season and will still be playing in SPA’s Drake Arena. The boys started their captain practices this week.
“I’m excited that despite COVID-19, we get a full season this year. Captains [practices] are usually really fun because they’re less stressful and everyone has a good time,” junior Teo Dieperink said.
Senior Jackson Small added, “I really enjoy hanging with the boys at captains’ because it’s a great break from schoolwork and the long school day.”
Spartan Hockey’s season begins on Dec.1 and United Hockey’s season begins on Dec. 7.