Romans Become Soldiers: Latin Boys Hockey

Untitled Michael Gross Next Friday, for the first time in school history, the Latin boys hockey team will be playing at Soldier Field against St. Ignatius. Historically, Latin’s hockey teams have gone unnoticed, as their weekend games far away in the suburbs draw few student supporters. This year has proven to be different; the team is off to one of their best starts in recent memory, attracting many more Latin fans than in previous years. With several announcements and tremendous intensity in selling tickets to their fellow classmates, the team (led by junior Henry Pollock and senior Andre Kaplan) has created an excitement around the school that has only been paralleled by a Latin-Parker basketball game. This exciting event is not only a first for Latin, but for the city as well, as it is the first time Soldier Field is playing host to the Office Max Hockey City Classic. Latin’s matchup against Ignatius precedes the February 17th matchups between four college hockey powerhouses (the Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Miami Redhawks, and the Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. the Wisconsin Badgers). Hockey is different than any other sport at Latin, as it is not only the lone full-contact sport, but the team is also comprised of student-athletes from schools all over the city. While Latin sponsors the team, there are students participating from Whitney Young, Lab, Lane Tech, Walter Payton, Parker, Jones Prep, and the British School this year. In asking some players on the team how they felt playing with kids from other schools, sophomore star Will Nuelle responded saying, “it is fun playing on the same teams with kids from other schools. Some of them I used to play with and some of them against, but nonetheless it is a good time . . . it is a great opportunity to get to know kids I might not know or interact with.” The boys hockey team hopes that the spotlight of playing in a professional stadium will further increase their popularity not only within the school, but throughout the city as well, as Will Nuelle said, “It’s a big deal for us to be playing at Soldier Field,” as he is excited to participate in this “marquee game, which the whole school is hopefully going to come watch.” Coming off a hard-fought victory in an MLK tournament in Ann-Arbor, Michigan this past weekend, the boys varsity squad is riding tremendous momentum into their game against Ignatius with a record of 15-14-1, since this game will be their last of the season. The team sealed the tournament victory with a 2-1 overtime win – Mike Sockol of Whitney Young High School was the hero with the game winning goal and Latin Junior, goalie Antonio Sciarrotta was rewarded the tournament MVP. The tournament consisted of nine other competitive Illinois teams (Deerfield, Evanston, Highland Park, Lake Forest, Loyola Maroon, Maine, NT Blue, NT White, and Warren) and a Latin victory proved an impressive triumph for the Romans. Antonio, like the rest of the players on his team, is thrilled for the game, believing, “it is going to be a unique and awesome experience, a once in a lifetime opportunity to play in a professional venue like Soldier Field, especially with the game being outside.” The Romans are treating this game like they would any other regular season match. When asked about the preparation for the big game, Will Nuelle responded with poise, saying: “We’ve had a normal practice schedule lately and I don’t expect preparation to change.” One thing different about this game (other than the fact that they will be playing in a stadium with a seating capacity of 61,500) is that the Romans will be sporting brand new jerseys – something the team is very excited about. The St. Ignatius Wolf Pack Boys Hockey enters the game with a 24-4-3 record, riding a 14-game winning streak where they have outscored their opponents 59-10 and averaged 4.2 goals per game. The Romans are up for this challenge. More than that, however, several of the players have friendly relationships with the players. Will Nuelle elaborated, saying: “I’m excited to play Ignatius. A lot of these guys are people I used to play with during youth hockey and who used to even be my line mates. It’ll be cool to lace up against old teammates.” Once on the ice, these old friends turn into opponents, since the boy’s team assures that it is going to be a competitive game. With both teams riding serious momentum, the excitement and anticipation is extremely high, as tickets are selling fast, for what looks to be a hard-fought battle on the ice of Soldier Field.]]>