Breaking the ice: hockey team seeks support from community

Lucy Harllee

“Wilson’s bowling team is better known at school,” senior Owen Crouch said.

Crouch is captain of Wilson’s ice hockey team, a club team many students are unaware of. This unfortunate truth is something the players have become accustomed to. 

In 2017, Wilson broke off from DC Stars High School Hockey Club, a team open to all DC students who do not have ice hockey teams at their schools, and formed an independent ice hockey team. Unfortunately, the team was never able to pick up much steam in terms of schoolwide popularity.

Crouch, along with teammate and fellow senior Calvin Gidney, heard about Wilson ice hockey through mutual friends. This is a common way that students are recruited to join the team because of a lack of publicity from the school’s athletic boosters. This year, the co-ed club team consists of a mere nine Wilson students; the rest of the players come from schools across the city. Some of the non-Wilson students include “girlboss” and DCI student Fletcher Lyttleton, who can “outskate almost anyone on the ice, no matter the team,” Crouch said. 

With the team being relatively new, their 0-8 record isn’t reflective of how hard they have fought throughout the season. Because Wilson ice hockey faces opponents from Maryland, where ice hockey is a much bigger sport, the team often plays much more experienced teams.  The odds are stacked against them. 

Wilson’s nearly empty student section alongside their opponents’ packed stands highlights a visible disparity in the popularity of hockey between DC and Maryland, and is also a result of the games located so far from Wilson.

The team practices two to three times a week. For team members like Calvin Gidney, distance can be a problem as “on-the-ice practices are 35 minutes from [his] house.” Games are located even further, at rinks like the Wheaton, Rockville, and Cabin John ice arenas. This commute takes a toll on players, as “they’re pretty far and always late at night, so it’s a little annoying to not be able to hang out with friends on Fridays,” Gidney said. 

Crouch is bothered as well, stating the distance “makes it tough to bring people to the games.” 

The athletes do recognize the distance is necessary in order for them to play. There aren’t many rinks in DC, so there aren’t places we could go that are closer than the places we play at in Maryland,” Gidney said.

These semiweekly treks showcase the players’ level of commitment, all of whom put their best foot forward day in and day out. One of the team’s stars is junior Henry Teumer. “[He] is a silent killer, works hard, and has the best shot on the team,” Gidney said.

Another standout is goalie and junior Jack Kobil, who has helped Crouch build and strengthen the team for next year. Crouch views Kobil as a “guiding force for the team.”

Since the players are not all Wilson students and do not have the opportunity to practice everyday, Wilson ice hockey lacks a certain baseline player-to-player connection that other sports teams don’t have to think twice about. Despite these circumstances, the ice hockey team shares the common goal of having fun and aiming to win. Every player supports and pushes one another, contributing to their overall improvement as a team. Gidney’s favorite part is “bringing the energy to practice and getting everyone hyped before a game.” That is definitely #Tigerpride.

Wilson’s Tiger pride helps lead numerous teams to victory, and the hockey players “always hope to have more people in support,” Crouch said. If you’re free on a Friday night, come out to support the ice hockey team! Since ice hockey is a club team, fans are allowed at games despite DCPS COVID restrictions. For more information on game days and times, head to their Instagram, @wilsonicehockey.