The New Trier Hockey Club finds way to play amid pandemic

With hockey deemed a high risk sport, many teams in the state haven’t been able to play, yet The New Trier Hockey Club has found a way.



New Trier Green celebrates after winning Motown Classic, in Detroit, Michigan on Oct. 18

While  most contact sports deemed high risk have seen their season postponed or cancelled, the New Trier Hockey Club has found a way to play on. 

The club is not affiliated with the school, meaning it doesn’t follow the school’s guidelines on playing and practicing. Instead they are under the jurisdiction of The Amateur Hockey Association Illinois (AHAI). 

Since their season started on Aug. 24, New Trier Green, the top team of the club, has traveled and played tournaments out of state in locations such as Indiana, Kentucky, and Michigan. 

During the period when teams weren’t recommended to travel out of state, the team changed its name to The Marauders in order to play in tournaments, without associating themselves with the area and the state. 

AHAI changed the guidelines on teams traveling out of state on Sept. 10, yet the team continued to use the Marauder name before finally changing it back for their latest tournament on Oct. 17-18.

“We thought it would be best to just continue playing with the jerseys we had just gotten and just because AHAI allowing us to play was so new,” said senior Charlie Acri.

Head coach Bob Melton declined to comment on the team’s traveling and name change.

There are consequences, however, to competing  in a high risk sport. New Trier athletic director Augie Fontanetta stated, “Any student who is not adhering to the Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines per their sport classification are asked to quarantine for 14 days.”

This rule means that the players cannot return to in person learning due to the frequency of their travels. However, this doesn’t appear to bother the players of their parents.

“Most parents were okay with us not being able to go back to school because most of us are seniors and they understand it’s our last year,” said senior Jack Marino.

There are more changes that the players have been forced to take. All season they’ve had to play with bubbles on their masks, to reduce the spread of the virus. However, for their latest tournament in Detroit, Michigan, they needed to wear actual masks while skating. Senior William Trukenbrod said that wearing a mask while playing was difficult.

“It makes it harder to breathe especially for a game that is quick shifts, fast paced, and players already get tired easily. I just wore a pulled up gaiter but some people wore those blue medical ones,” Trukenbrod said.

These aren’t the only changes the team has been forced to make. “Every year I’ve played New Trier hockey we’ve had team water bottles. We don’t have those anymore. We social distance ourselves when we’re not on the ice,” said Marino. 

With only playing out of state there are more consequences than not being able to attend in-person school. At times because of Illinois’ quarantine rules the players have had to miss games because of academic conflicts.

“We also had to cancel games because of the SAT, because the team is almost all seniors. We couldn’t go to a game a few weeks back because if we played we’d have to quarantine for 2 weeks and then we couldn’t have taken the SAT,” said Acri.

Ultimately, the players have been willing to make sacrifices to play the sport that they love.

“Since we’re doing hybrid learning, you only go to school a few times in a month, I would much rather be playing hockey,” said Acri.