The pioneer hockey boys are looking to turn things around


Before their season began, the boys defeated Grand Haven in a scrimmage 5-2. However, as the puck dropped, the boys faced some of their toughest opponents: Forest Hills Northern Eastern, Byron Center, and Flint Powers. After a disappointing start to their season, the pioneers are ready to turn it around.

“We wanted to turn around the season after a tough start because we knew we were better than the way we played our first few games,” Scotty Millman ‘24 said. “We also didn’t want to let the seniors last year go to waste as we know how talented this team is and know if we can keep chopping we can go far into the playoffs,” Millman said.

Nov. 25, the team headed up North to Traverse City for their annual tournament. Traverse City was expected to be a tough opponent, as they won their first game 12-0, however the Pioneers came through in a tie their first game, and won the second 5-2. Reigning star player Charlie Hoekstra ‘24, scoring three goals and JT LaMange ‘24 scoring two, helped make their first win of the season possible.

“It was a great feeling when I scored, it was an exciting moment for me to see my coaches and fellow teammates be excited for me,” Hoekstra said.

Though it’s early in the season, some valued players have already been benched due to injuries. Starting goalie Hudson Bardeggia ‘23 took a puck to the head during practice, leaving him with a concussion which made him unable to play the past couple of games. Thankfully, he has recovered and is ready to face the wildcats in their game versus Jenison. Ethan Brinker ‘26 has not got his turn on the ice yet this year after suffering a pre-season injury on his leg. However, he has found ways to contribute to his team by assisting media coordinator, Grant Newton. Yet another injury on the team, Henry Cuff ‘24 took a hit during practice before their tournament which left him with a broken collarbone and a recovery time that will set him back a couple of months.

“I was really upset when I found out I wouldn’t be able to play until mid-January but I’m looking forward to the day I can get back on the ice,” Cuff said.

New members of the team have gotten a feel for the high energy aspect of this program. Being watched by your peers is certainly pressuring but also can be very rewarding. Yet again, the stew has shown up to support the boys and create an electric environment that radiates onto the ice.

“The student section is really fun to play in front of, it helps in a way of motivation as I’d really like to play well in front of my friends but it can also be nerve racking to play in front of so many of my peers,” Brady Ross ‘25 said.

More recently, the boys have secured a couple dubs leaving them more hopeful and motivated. On Dec. 2, they took Jenison down 6-1 and the following day defeated a previously difficult opponent, Detroit Country Day, 5-3.

In hopes to make it to the state championship, the boys will surely have to put in the extra work and time to excel this season. On top of their daily practices, the team also comes together once a week for a team dinner. The bond the boys have off the ice is just as important to contribute to a better connection and teamwork on the ice. The team is appreciative of the support received from family, friends, and the stew.