Let the games begin

Area high school ice hockey teams are embarking on their premier week of games. Four local teams are taking to the ice as schoolboy hockey gains a foothold in the local sports arena. Players representing northern Blair County are members of the Central Pennsylvania team, which represents schools in Bellwood, Tyrone, Chestnut Ridge, Huntingdon, Bedford, and State College.
Thursday night at Galactic Ice in Altoona, a capacity crowd turned out to see five local teams scrimmage. State College came to town to participate with Central PA, Altoona Area, Bishop Guilfoyle, and Hollidaysburg Area. The local varsity teams are playing in the Laurel Highlands league that includes teams from Northern and Central Cambria, Allegany, Md., Derry, and Norwin. Home games will be played at Galactic Ice in Altoona.
Central PA Coach Ed Ehrlichman says his team’s diversity will be a strength, and the team will look to a couple experienced players this year.
“No doubt Chris White (of Bellwood) is our top player on the varsity squad. He’ our captain. And Craig Thompson is a freshman who plays on both the junior high and varsity teams. He’ll be helping our younger players,” Ehrlichman said.
Altoona Area High School hockey coach Dave Weaver said his team will look to three different areas for help this year.
“I think I have very strong goaltending in Corey Shaheen and Luke Sackandy, and I have a fairly experienced defense. With our captain Ryan Lynn, we have a real goal scorer,” Weaver said.
Bishop Guilfoyle High School is the lone veteran team this year. The only local team that played last year. BG was 3-16-1 last year. They will look to senior captain Craig Stokan, Bellwood senior Neil Caldwell as goalie, and senior Jordan Wiley. BG may have a secret weapon in Jean Simone, a Canadian exchange student with hockey experience from north of the border.
Hollidaysburg Area Golden Tigers business manager Ken Koronowski said his team has a great deal of depth with several players who also travel for the local Trackers team. The team captain is Bryan Koronowski, who is a sophomore with six years ice hockey experience. Ken Koronowski said Hollidaysburg will have two junior high teams because interest is so great.