By Aakash Jain ’14
While there was still triple-digit and blistering heat outside, Brophy’s hockey team embarked on a new season early September in slightly cooler conditions.
And their hard work on the ice is beginning to pay off.
“The coaches are very happy with the start to this season,” wrote via email head coach Mr. Gordon Hester in an email. “We have a lot of games left but the 5A varsity team is currently in first place and the 3A varsity team is starting to come together.”
Spencer Smith ’13, who has played on the varsity team since his freshman year, said the team has changed significantly from last year, though he still expects them to be just as competitive.
“This year we are not as big of a team as last year,” Smith said. “We graduated a lot of seniors who were pretty big guys.”
The Broncos’ hopes for this season are no less than a second consecutive state championship, though Coach Hester added that this year’s opponents are formidable.
“This season I expect our main rival will again be Pinnacle,” Coach Hester said. “They are a very talented and deep roster and will look to avenge last season’s championship loss to Brophy … Pinnacle and Brophy will be an exciting battle all season.”
According to a March 2012 article by Sarah McLellan of The Arizona Republic, Brophy’s rivalry with Pinnacle reached its apogee at the end of last season.
“Last year, Pinnacle got the better of Brophy in the (2011) semifinal round, knocking them out of postseason contention,” McLellan wrote. “But this time around, Brophy earned its revenge, and the Arizona High School Hockey Association 5A championship, by delivering a 5-2 win over Pinnacle on Sunday night in front of a standing-room-only crowd at the Ice Den in Scottsdale.”
The intensity continued even after the final horn as a brawl broke out after the game ended, McLellan wrote.
Coach Hester added that Horizon and Desert Vista are young teams and should not be overlooked as challenging competitors as well.
Though this year’s team is younger than last year and several key members of the team have graduated, the team has found other sources of leadership.
“We graduated a lot of leadership and talent but the current roster has filled the void nicely,” Coach Hester said, “As a coach it is always fun to watch the physical and emotional development of your players.”
Coach Hester specifically cited this year’s senior as good role models for the rest of the team.
“I would group our upperclassmen as a collective role model. They are doing a great job showing the way for our freshmen and sophomores,” Coach Hester said. “They come to the rink prepared to work hard every game and take great pride in playing for Brophy.”
In addition, Coach Hester said he has witnessed a true sense of camaraderie among the team, which he believes has carried over from last year.
“Last season we adopted the motto ‘For the Boys’ and we have carried it into this season. They have a commitment to each other and an understanding of what it means to wear the logo that as coaches we appreciate,” Coach Hester said. “They have developed a culture of ‘team first’ which spreads throughout the entire program and makes Brophy a tough team to play against and a fun team to watch.”
Students can learn more about the team and its schedule by visiting brophyhockey.com and by following the team’s official Twitter account, @BroncosHockey.