Summit High's young hockey team has spent the last three weeks upping the ante to become the "bigger, faster, stronger" high school players they need to be now that they've moved on from the club game. "We're focusing on getting the younger players to understand what the next level is about and the speed of the game," head coach Chris Ruhly said. He expects the teaching and learning to continue through the first half of the season, which is mostly comprised of non-conference games. Those games, like the one against last year's final four contender Chatfield that kicks off the season on the road Friday, will be barometers of the team's in-league performance for the rest of the season."These young guys are going to have to learn and learn quickly. They're going to be thrown into fire," Ruhly said. Particularly since last year was the first time in Ruhly's eight years with the team that it hasn't gone to the state playoffs. And this year's seniors are hungering for postseason play again now that they know what it's like to go without. "We don't have the talent and upperclassman depth we once did," senior captain Sean Farley said, but he hopes that doesn't stop the team's quest for success. "To win a lot of games, we have to play hard and not make mistakes. ... We have to play hard every shift." Farley and fellow seniors Peter Grotemeyer, Blake Horan and Travis Potts will take on leadership roles for the team as well as the brunt of the playing time. Farley, Grotemeyer and Horan have been on the team since their freshman year and are primed to take on the workload. In addition, he's looking at Finnish exchange student and team newcomer Simo Korpela to strengthen the squad, more than half of which is freshmen and sophomores. Perhaps there's not depth in the upperclassman talent pool, but the team has numbers to back up the starters. Farley and Ruhly see it as their challenge to turn the sophomores who didn't see a lot of playing time last year into reliable players, and groom the freshmen into the team's future. Last year's record was a nearly even 9-10, which Farley and Ruhly both hope to improve upon. "Every day is growth; every day is improvement," Ruhly said. He wasn't willing to elaborate for fear of cluing in the competition, but Ruhly said he has system tweaks in mind for the new team. All he was willing to say is that the offense will have more freedom while the defense excercises control and discipline. "We're going to surprise some teams in the league," Ruhly said, adding, "Maybe we'll fly under the radar" until other teams realize Summit's lost talent just might be able to be replaced. After a bout with Chatfield on Friday, Summit faces off Saturday against rival Battle Mountain, with the Shrine Pass trophy at stake. Summit regained the trophy about five years ago after Battle Mountain held it for years. "Hopefully, we'll keep it on this side of the pass," Ruhly said. Chatfield and Battle Mountain aren't the only stiff competition in the Foothills division. Regis Jesuit is the two-year defending state champion, and Ralston Valley brings a strong game to the ice. "I think we're in a stronger conference (than the Peaks Conference)," Ruhly said. "We're up to the task. I'd rather be playing a stronger conference."
No. Name1Wyatt Dickerson (G)33Reiker Edstrom (G)33 Bode Culbreath (G)2Sean Costello 3Johann Westerhoff 4George Kamins 5Luke Egging 8Charley Peoples 9Travis Potts 10Sam Herwig 11 Ben Schoeffield 12 Blake Horan 13Marc Demers 14Brendan Greenberg 15 George Kasch 16 Carter Flavell 17 Karl Olsson-Deem 18 Ryan Rodgers 19 Jesse Reller 20 Mike Farley 21 Simo Korpela 22 Sean Farley 23 Peter Grotemeyer 24Jack Nevicosi 47Casey Lewark