Every Sunday, members of the Williston Varsity Boys Hockey team gather in the admissions parking lot to play street hockey.
With the hockey season ending in March and many seniors planning on playing junior hockey next year to have a chance to play in college, players need an outlet to practice and improve certain elements of their game. With spring tournaments and junior camps on the horizon, a sense of urgency and anxiety to practice are at the back of everyone’s minds.
It doesn’t help that the ice rink is melted in the spring to make way for baseball and softball hitting cages. Many hockey players feel this is unfair to athletes who wants to keep playing in the spring instead of having to go off campus.
Part of offseason training consists of shooting, skating, stickhandling, and lifting. With all hockey players involved in a spring sport, finding the time to get all the practicing required to play at a high level forces some creativity. Enter street hockey on Sundays.
Senior Gavin Havens from Franklin, Mass.,, and 2022 MVP winner, wishes he could skate at Lossone Rink in the spring, but loves street hockey.
“I don’t mind playing street hockey as the substitute because it’s spring time and I think street hockey is some of the most fun you could have,” he said. “It’s a more simpler process than going down to the rink and getting fully dressed, and it’s nice to be outside playing hockey in the nice weather.”
Gavin has played street hockey and roller hockey his entire life and thinks there are positives to the asphalt game.
“It can definitely help increase your stick handling ability and can expand your creativity,” he said. “But I think there’s also a possibility to pick up some bad skating habits that could silently transfer to your actual on ice skating, so you just have to be careful of that.”
Jimmy Dunn, junior from Plymouth Mass., likes the competitiveness involved.
“Street hockey helps my hockey game as it simulates real competition and skating while also adding the fun and stress-free aspect of playing with friends,” he said.
Derek Cunha, Williston’s Varsity Hockey coach, sees street hockey as a positive.
“I love street hockey,” he said. “It is unstructured and a time where players can just play and have fun. Everything for players is so structured from such a young age these days, so it’s good to see guys make up their own teams, create a rink, make their own rules, and be creative. Guys play because it’s fun.”
Cunha also likes the bonds street hockey can create in a team’s culture.
“The fact that our players bond over this experience is more about them having fun and enjoying each other’s company,” he said. “Good team culture is one where guys want to be around each other, can push each other, and respect each other.”