Hockey team hopes for improvements as season continues


The Central Valley hockey team consists of six different schools that come together to play on one team. The schools that make up the team are Freedom, Central Valley, Riverside, Hopewell, New Brighton and Beaver Falls. The team got together for the first time on Aug. 23 with a preseason practice camp. The camp continued on the 24, 25, 30 and 31 of Aug. for about an hour each day. During the camp, the players worked on various drills to improve their teamwork and skills. Also, in the preseason, the team had two scrimmage games against Moon and Beaver. 

No new players from freedom joined the team. However, the returners from last year are junior Aiden Pournaras, junior Chase Grable and sophomore Noah Fessides. The head coach this year is Noah Yerdon, along with assistant coaches Brandon Davidson, Mike Essey and Ryan Maker. 

On Oct. 3, the team started their season with an away game against Neshannock. Although the team lost 13-1, they learned a lot about their upcoming season. This game taught the players what to do differently in hopes that one game may come out as a win. The team’s home opener was on Oct. 13, and it was themed white-out. To encourage students to attend, the first 50 students got a free shirt. On Oct. 20th, the team played a home game against Deer Lakes. This was their pink-out game to support Breast Cancer Awareness, in which the team asked spectators to wear pink. Before the game, the team all handed Kate Grable, a breast cancer survivor and mother of one of the players, a pink rose. 

Hockey teams typically have one captain and two assistant captains. This season, the players on the team voted for Grable as one of their assistant captains. Grable’s position on the team is a defenseman; his job is to help the goalie protect their team’s goal against the other team. 

“Being a captain is a huge role, and it feels awesome to be respected by my teammates in such a way that they have chosen me for this position,” Grable said. 

Despite being a defenseman, Grable managed to provide an assist on a goal. An assist is when a player helps the goal scorer by passing them the puck.  Pournaras is the leading goal scorer of the season so far. Leading the team with 5 goals and one assist, Pournaras has contributed to the team with a total of 6 points. Pournaras’s position on the team is a forward, whose job is to score goals and make passes. 

“It feels good to be producing points, but I don’t care for individual points. I would much rather the team get some wins,” Pournaras said, “At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who’s scoring as long as the team is getting points.”

In order to make sure the players stay ready for upcoming games, the team practices every Friday and every other Saturday. Along with practice, many players play for various travel hockey teams in the area.