‘Seriousness’ to be instilled into Muskie girls’ team

This Friday during the high school’s lunch hour is when hopeful players for the Muskie girls’ hockey team will file into a classroom and thus begin the tryout process.
“It’s not going to be anything to crazy, but we want them to start thinking about things,” said assistant coach Chris Hill.
“We’re going to have a little meeting and kind of lay out the outline of what we’re looking for,” he added.
So what are they looking for?
“We’re looking for a well-rounded player. Someone that is good in the locker room, someone that is willing to work their butt off, and someone that has good character,” Hill answered.
Hill is hopeful to see between 30 and 35 players try out for the team, whose on-ice tryouts will take place next week (Sept. 6-9). Any student that is interested in taking part should see Hill at the high school.
Last year was the first time the Muskie girls’ hockey program, which is now in its sixth year of operation, had enough players to make cuts. That called for some tough decisions having to be made, and this year will be no different.
Though they have lost a few key veterans like captains Kristen Roehrig and Ashley Whalen, and Kim Pacarenuk, who was their lone goalie last year (Katie Stearns practiced with the team, but was not old enough to be on the squad), they have quite a few returning players.
But just because they donned the black-and-gold colours last year doesn’t necessarily mean they will this year.
“There are no guarantees, and that’s one thing that we’re going to try and instill at the meeting and let them know that every position is open,” said Hill.
“We like to know that we have returning players that know the program and know what’s expected from them, but we’re going to go with the best all-around team that we can get,” he added.
But the program and the expectations of the team will be metamorphosing into something different this season, as Lynn Kellar, who was an assistant coach to Jim McMahon last season, will be the head coach this year. The coaching staff will be instilling a seriousness that was lacking in years past.
“That’s been kind of a stumbling block with this team,” said Hill, who didn’t want to infer there was anything wrong with the way things were done in the past, “but we don’t have a history and things are still pretty new.”
One aspect that will be different that wasn’t seen in the past is the implementation of a dryland conditioning component and having a workout routine throughout the season, which will be observed by Laura Craig—a new physical education teacher at Fort High and the trainer for this year’s team.
It is Hill’s hopes that whatever changes the coaching staff makes to the team, that it creates a formula with the end result being a winning one.
“We want to play more as a team,” reiterated Hill.
“This year we want to be a little more tighter and have more bonding as a team, because I think that makes a big difference.”