The co-op University School of Milwaukee girls hockey team, the Wildcats, began practicing on November 10, led by Jacob Haury, head coach Three Shorewood freshmen, Karly Lamoreaux, Isabel Schmitt and Hannah Neudorfer, play on the team of about 20, including girls from Whitefish Bay, Nicolet, University School and DSHA.
Last year, the Wildcats defeated Hayward to win the state title. Including Jenna Vuorinen, class of 2015, the team lost 11 players that season, after nine seniors graduated.
“We do have a younger group, but this is one of the hardest working groups of kids, period, boys or girls, that I’ve probably ever been with,” Jacob said. Because of their attitude, he is confident in the team’s ability to succeed this season.
“I know that my goal as a coach is that I want to retain the girls, year in and year out, I want to make sure that they’re having fun [and] that they’re getting better. Skill-development’s a big thing for me, and if we work our absolute hardest, I think that the goals that the girls have set for themselves, I think they could accomplish every single one of them,” Jacob said.
The Wildcats play in the Eastern Shores Conference, which stretches from Green Bay to Milwaukee and contains eight teams, all of which are co-ops. According to Jacob, fielding a girls hockey team is more difficult than fielding a boys hockey team.
“I think it’s hard because [girls hockey] kind of has a stereotype to it; it’s not a glamour sport, and girls are geared up. You can’t see what they look like,” Jacob said. The rules of the games are also different.
“In the boy’s game, a player with the puck can be physically knocked off the puck, you can check the person with the puck. In girls hockey, you have to play the puck first before there can be any body contact,” said Bill Haury, assistant coach. Bill is also the former SHS athletic director and SIS dean of students.
“Girls hockey is the pure form of the sport, because you don’t have the body checking. There’s much more emphasis on passing, skating, better skill,” Bill said.
The team practices every day Monday through Friday, beginning with strength and conditioning training from a USM coach, then stick-handling, and synthetic ice training before gearing up to get on the real ice later. Before the season officially began, team captains held scrimmage-based practices for team members to become acquainted.
“I really like meeting everyone from different schools. The sport is really fun, but it’s a really diverse group,” Lamoreaux said. As an SHS alumni, Jacob would like to see support from Shorewood students at games.
“We would love to see people come out to the games, it would be great to get some support from Shorewood,” Jacob said. The Wildcats will play in their first tournament in Mosinee on Nov 27 and 28. Their first home game is December 10.
By Justine Spore