West High School Hockey Tryouts

Lesley Bingham, Reporter

On Wednesday, October 12th, high school hockey tryouts began at Dempsey Ice Arena. The two time defending state champions, the West Anchorage Eagles, began their 2016-2017 season with three consecutive days of formal tryouts to determine the varsity and junior varsity teams.

The junior varsity coach, Kelsey Romig, who also teaches Alaska Studies and Student Government at West, has coached JV and assisted the varsity team for four years. Romig says that in 2011, West had a total of 12 students try out for the hockey team, but the past fews years have had a dramatic increase in the number of students who’ve tried out. “I would hope those numbers just continue to grow,” Romig says.

At tryouts, the coaches will ask the players to participate in drills to show their skill. However, Romig added that personality and attitude are the first qualities he sees in a potential player. They compete in drills such as four-on-two defensive and offensive practice, and even scrimmage to see how each player compares and competes with their peers.

The senior captain, Garrett Bruner, who has played hockey at West for four years, said that he is looking forward to the upcoming season. When asked how he felt about the starting goalie from last season moving out of state, Bruner confidently said, “I am very sad about Isaiah moving, but we will still win.” According to Bruner, this year’s hockey tryouts were similar to years in the past, and he is excited for the season to start.

Both Bruner, and the varsity head coach, Nathan Shasby, said that chemistry is the most important thing they need to work on before their first game. “Getting to know each other and starting to come together as a team,” Shasby said, will lead to a win at their first game.

Shasby, while teaching at West, has also dedicated seven years to coaching hockey. He took over the program in 2011, and had a season where they won a total of three games, but has now led the Eagles to win two consecutive state championships in 2014 and 2015.

The hockey team and coaches hope to continue their winning streak by practicing hard and working together as a team. According to Shasby and Bruner, try outs were a success and now that practices have begun, they will start to focus on more specific plays and learn the rules of the game. Hopefully there will be a large turnout at their first game at Ben Boeke on November 8th, and their season will be a success.