Area hockey players meet on the ice
By Abigail Allen
In its first year of existence, the Celina Hockey Association's JV team went from strangers to teammates who made a playoff appearance.
Students from several cities in North Texas, including Pilot Point, Providence Village and Collinsville, worked under the direction of head coach Cullum Morgan and assistant head coach Brian Moreno.
"I don't think anybody at the beginning of the season thought we'd be here," Morgan said. "To take this team and to have the guys go 10-5-and-3, finish in fourth place and lose in a tough, hard-fought shootout in the first round is something to be proud of."
Moreno agreed that the kids came a long way in their first year together.
"For us to take a group of kids that had never met each other at the beginning of the season and take on some of these teams that have been playing together for seasons, for them to come out here and do what they've done, it's remarkable," Moreno said. "And it's a testament to the hard work they've put in at practice at 6 a.m. on Saturday mornings."
In addition to Pilot Point, Providence Village and Collinsville, those players draw from Celina, Anna, Melissa, Gunter and Van Alstyne.
That adds a layer of difficulty in team building, but the kids have embraced the responsibility of growing together, the coaches said.
"The hard work that they've put in to get to know each other, to become friends with each other and to play for each other has been really cool to see," Morgan said.
Dylan Schroeder, who lives in Providence Village, is homeschooled and lives on the Aubrey ISD side of the town.
"This is my first high school team, and I'm glad to be in it the first year to know the kids," Schroeder said. "I was scared that when I went in I would be the newcomer … but we were all the newcomers."
Like Schroeder, Collinsville student Remington Kaminski is excited to play hockey through the USA Hockey-affiliated league.
"It was great being on this team for the first [season]," Kaminski said. "We set a high-bar standard."
He enjoyed learning to come together with his teammates and enjoyed this experience more than his house teams before.
"I hope next year we're going to have a couple new kids on the team," Kaminski said.
Landon Bridges, who is from Pilot Point, agreed that "it was a fun year with my team."
"We did very good this year for our first season," he said.
He also said he's hoping the team will largely stay together to keep building on their good start.
The coaches helped him improve individually and in working with his teammates, he said.
"We hope that we get [more] people in the sport," he said in reference to the team's 12-person roster.
Lindsey Bridges, Landon's mother, joked that they've said the Celina Bobcats were "the most conditioned team in the league" because they had fewer players than their opponents throughout the season.
The team's season ended in 5-4 loss following a shootout against the Birdville JV team on March 26 in McKinney.
Unlike many other sports, hockey at this stage is a nearly year-round sport.
The Celina Bobcats will next take the ice against the Northwest JV Bronze team at 2 p.m. April 15 in an exhibition game before the Allen Americans' game versus the Wichita Thunder at 7:05 p.m.
For tickets to that game at the CUTX Event Center, 200 E. Stacy Road, Ste. 1350 in Allen, visit fevo.me/celinahockey.
Kids with skating experience who want to join the team from seventh grade up can attend the evaluation skate at 7:15 p.m. April 16 at the Dr Pepper StarCenter in McKinney to show their skills on the ice.
For more information about the team, visit facebook.com/CelinaBobcatsHockey or celinahockeyassociation.org.