JV hockey makes program history with undeniable bond
March 15, 2019
Three years ago, the York hockey program took a big leap to test their competition and skill level. After having such a successful season in the Illinois West High School Hockey league, they were accepted into the Scholastic Hockey league (SHL), arguably the most elite and exclusive league in the state. Since then, they have taken strides moving further and further toward the top of the rankings each year.
This season was successful for both the varsity and JV teams. Undoubtedly most rewarding of all, JV was declared the SHL champions, sweeping the competition away.
“What made our team successful is that we all played for each other, there was no ego or selfishness on our team,” junior and captain Jake Barmada said. “We played our system and knew we had to play for each other to win. I think there was great motivation since we knew we had a special team this year, and our coaches really preached that.”
The team finished third in the regular season of the SHL closely behind number one Glenbrook North and number two Stevenson. However, these rankings did not hinder the team’s effort whatsoever.
“We beat very good teams in the state multiple times including Glenbrook North, Stevenson, and Loyola,” sophomore and alternate captain Jackson Bonesteel said. “We always seemed to pick each other up when we were down.”
During the postseason, they battled through each of the best of three series, first beating Glenbrook South in round one, then going on to defeat Glenbrook North two games to none in round two. Eventually, York went on to be declared SHL champions after, once again, sweeping their opponent. The championship game was played against Stevenson, fittingly, in the final Friday night home game of the season with the Dukes coming out on top in an intense three to one win.
“It felt incredible to throw those gloves off in the air,” Bonesteel said. “All that hard work since August had paid off, and I absolutely loved it to celebrate with all my teammates at the end of the game.”
Although they finished successfully in the SHL, they did have their fair share of challenges from losing streaks to injuries. However, perhaps the most upsetting defeat of all came the morning after hosting the cup.
“The most challenging thing was to face Stevenson three games in a row during the postseason,” Barmada said. “We did sweep them in the SHL championship, but the next day they knocked us out of the state bracket. Guys were crying at the end of the game in the locker room. It was sad to see the season come to an end.”
An upsetting last game of the season, still the team’s efforts and accomplishments will go down in York Hockey history as the first team to win the SHL playoffs. Continuously playing against the top competition in the state is tough, but the team was able to prove the program’s worth through their hard work and undeniable bond to each other.
“We are more than a team, we’re a family and we had numerous players step up and inspire the team to dig deeper,” Barmada said. “No matter what happened we always would bounce back stronger after every obstacle: I think that’s what made this team special.”