Despite injuries, hockey team commits to season

Abby Murillo, Staff Writer

The Plainfield High School Hockey Association is a high school club consisting of players from Plainfield North, South, East, and Central, together forming Plainfield’s Predator Hockey Team.
Predator Hockey stresses the values of teamwork, good sportsmanship, and self-discipline. The coaching staff and trainers are committed to achieving excellence at the highest level of training.
“I believe it’s essential to be positive and focused on motivating players to reach their full potential,” Head Coach of the Varsity team Jeff Schmidt said. “If constructive criticism is provided, it’s preceded and followed by positive reinforcements. I also believe in strong communication between the players and coaches. It’s essential to have the pulse of the team and lean on the captains for their perspectives and insights.”
Teamwork, sacrifice, hard work, and determination, are the essential life skills that Schmidt attempts to implement and teach through his coaching.
The locker room in hockey lends itself to creating a strong unity, so long as there is the right mix of players and strong leadership. This team has both and has bonded very well as a team, Schmidt said.
“I think that our team is very close and tightly wounded,” Senior Alex Barlog, captain of the hockey team said, “We work hard as a group, and battle through games as a group. We hold each other accountable and try to make everyone’s game improve every chance we get.”
The team is not only close, but the locker room itself is tight. Additionally, the team does activities as a team to build camaraderie. They traveled to a tournament in Madison, WI, in mid-October, where they took home the victory. They recently held a team-building event at Axe Factor Throwing in Plainfield.
The team at the moment is going through a rough patch. Three of the players are currently injured, and two have been sick for the last couple of games. Despite that, the team is looking up for the coming weeks as the lineup will be full for the start of the regular season.
“The chemistry with the team is great,” Matteo Campasano, a junior at South, said, “We have amazing players with lots of talent. As a team we just need to start caring and wanting to win and put in the work. We have to start playing as a team. I just think how rewarding it will feel to win so I just try my best to keep clear of negativity and think about what I can do better.”
Barlog, who plays center, as the captain, leads the team through whatever challenges they might face, pushes everyone to work their hardest every time they are on the ice, and holds everyone accountable for the actions and words they say.
“Before every game, I remind myself that as a senior this is my last year and that my teammates depend on me to work hard and I depend on them for the same thing,” Barlog said, “I also always remind myself that nothing is given and that I have to earn it through hard work. I motivate the guys as much as I can as well as lead by example.”
The Predators will be participating in the Toys for Tots Drive, which will take place in the month of December. This is something that they participate in each year, and one of the several events they do as a club to give back to the community.
“The Toys for Tots game is always a memorable one every year.” Barlog said, “Every player on the team brings at least 1 gift, and before puck drop, we all skate over and hand the gift to a U.S. Marine. They always sing the anthem at this game as well. It’s always a great experience.”