Flyers look to state tournament with championship hopes

Margaux Brink, Health Editor

After a season full of of wins, the SLP Flyers Junior Gold hockey team is making an appearance in the state tournament again this year in hopes to be top contenders for this year’s state championship title. Last year, the Flyers placed third and aspire to clinch the title.

The team, lead by senior captains Blake Castaneda, Matt Arnason, Conor Deterding, and Mark Falls, managed to carry out a winning record of 17-5-3 this season, which earned them the 5th seed position in the tournament. “Since the beginning of the season our goal has been to make it to state, which we did, and now we need to accomplish our other goal—winning state,” senior forward Mitch Lowenberg said.

While the team puts in a lot of hard work on the ice, they also know that the most crucial part of this experience is to build long lasting friendships with teammates. “I am definitely going to miss these memories when it is all over because I have become so close with everyone on the team,” Castaneda said.

The relaxed environment allows the Flyers to enjoy partaking in the sport they love, but at a less serious level than the MSHSL.“The atmosphere is low key; we get to sing and have fun in the locker room without getting too serious before games,” Deterding said.

Flyers players also credit their success to coaches Ryan Anderson, Todd Dahlin, and Todd Krough. Junior Nick Gionet, a first-year team member, has felt that the laid-back ambiance at practice and during games has helped him love the sport even more. “Our coaches laugh along with us and have fun at practice too. You can tell they really love the sport, which helps us love it even more too,” Gionet said.

In their anticipation for the state tournament the weekend of March 13th, Flyers players purchased new jerseys, hoping to help increase their performance. They also are working intensely at practice as they near the end of their season, especially for the seniors who realize their precious time on this team is limited. “Flyers is a big part of my life and I love each and every second of it,” Deterding said.

With anticipation for the tournament, practices have decreased in time to taper the team but have increased from three days a week to five days a week. The team is making sure to be together as many days before the tournament in order to maximize their team dynamic and remain focused on their goal. “We have a lot of skill, but we don’t always apply it to our games. So at state, we need to work hard and focus on one game at a time,” Gionet said.

The Flyers will play their first game of the state tournament on Friday, March 13th at 4pm at the Plymouth Ice Arena. Although they’ll still enjoy their entertaining practices and lively teammates, the team remains focused on their end goal to become champions.