The road back to the top

Captain Butler Chessen looks to lead NT Green to second title in three years



NT Green celebrates after their 2-1 win against Loyola Gold on Feb. 18. Green hopes to return to the finals after losing to St. Viator last year.

NT Green defenseman junior, Jack Savino,  understands the high expectations of the team.

“Our seniors talk about it all the time, telling us that they don’t want the same result that happened to the team last year in the playoffs to happen again this year.”

The result was a 4-3 semifinal loss to St. Viator in the state hockey semifinals last year, something unfamiliar to the state championship-caliber teams that Green produces yearly. Having won four state championships since 2016, including 2021, winning is an expectation for Green. 

But Savino and others are up for the challenge, as they sense the targets on their backs.

“As our coach likes to say, every team will play their best against us, everyone comes out to beat us,” said Savino “Everyone wants to beat New Trier, no one really likes us.”

Captain Butler Chessen embraces this attitude. 

“It really motivates us, it’s nice being the top dog with everyone wanting to take you down. Beating Green is a highlight for most teams’ seasons.”

The team is through to the round of 16 in the state playoffs, while also holding a 1-0 lead over Loyola in the SHL league playoff semifinal. This target Chessen refers to is nothing new to Green, as they come into the state playoffs as the number one seed for the second consecutive year. 

As for Chessen, he and fellow captain Will Cusick are the only three-year players on Green, both having made the team their sophomore year. Because of this experience, Chessen knows what this team has to offer. 

“The bond this year is very special. Even though we’re still really talented this year, it’s been nice working so hard and seeing our work show up to this point,” Chessen said. 

Savino attributes the team’s continued success to the leaders, and their determination. 

“It’s a very senior driven team. All these kids know what to expect from each other. The captains all hold high expectations for themselves and everybody else, that it makes you want to work harder.”

A new face on Green, Savino describes the reception from his teammates and his chance to contribute to the number one hockey team in the state as “nothing but amazing”.

“When I score, even though it’s not often, it’s usually because one of those kids set me up or put me in the best position to score,” said Savino. “Every goal that someone scores is usually because of someone else.”

This year’s team is led by newly anointed head coach Adam Cheris. Cheris is no stranger to the Green attitude, though, as he has coached many of the players since their youth, with Cheris’ son, Aleks, a senior on Green this year. 

According to Chessen, Cheris brings a fresh attitude to Green not seen in years past. 

“He definitely brings a lot of positive energy, just a very genuine, happy guy which is a huge change from years past.”

Chessen likes the team’s chances this year, and understands coach Cheris and the captain’s experience could play a big role in this year’s playoff run. 

“We know what it takes, which definitely helps, so we’re just hoping to use that experience to win another [state championship],” Chessen said.