SPASH Hockey: Quest for the Conference Championship and Beyond

Max Gulan

The SPASH Hockey program has won the state championship only one time, almost twenty years ago. Recently, the team went undefeated in the Wisconsin Valley Conference with a record of 10-0 last season. With only two seniors that graduated this past year, the team still has their solid core of players who are ready to play hard and endure through difficulties in order to lead to a good season.

With the successes of last year still in players’ minds, the team has high hopes for themselves this season. When asked what his hopes and expectations are for this season, Simon Bienvenue, senior defenseman, said that he hopes to “win conference and then make a deep push in the playoffs.”  This claim is completely doable for the SPASH team, as they went undefeated in conference last year and most of the players did not graduate.  Furthermore, Matthew Eiden, junior forward, said that his expectation for the team this year is “to win the state championship.”  The last time SPASH accomplished this feat was in 2002, before most of the team’s current players were born and former olympian and current NHL player Joe Pavelski still played for the team. 

Though the team has high hopes and a strong foundation of experienced players, there are some weaknesses that some players feel could hold the team back. Trevor Herman, senior forward, feels that lack of experience could play a role in the team’s performance this year. When asked what could be the team’s biggest weakness, he said, “depth and still the fact that, yes we have new skill, but we don’t have experience.”  Though SPASH only lost two seniors last year, they also have several new freshmen playing on varsity this year. This could affect the team later in the year as some of the younger players who lack experience may not perform as well as other players who have been in tough situations before.

However, Matthew Eiden offers a different perspective on the subject. When asked what he feels could be the team’s biggest weakness, he said,  “being too selfish on the ice, we need to play more as a team.”  This could be a factor that contributes to the team’s success or lack thereof this season, as team chemistry could be impacted by the new players arriving and older players leaving.

According to Simon Bienvenue, though, “I don’t think we really have any weaknesses, per se, I think we just have a lot of things that we need to work on and get better at.” This could be true as well, especially given SPASH’s record last year. The team was at a 7-5 record at around the midway point of the season, respectable no doubt. However, the team then proceeded to go on an impressive 7 game winning-streak on the back half of the regular season.

Although there could be some potential weak spots, players are still confident that they have the tools to be successful this season. When asked about the possibility of reaching the state championship, senior defenseman and team captain Cael Bolton responded with, “Yeah, I think we have the potential to do that. I mean conference, every team knows that we are a good team this year and we have to keep that going.”

Similarly, Trevor Herman thinks that the team has the potential to be successful as well, but for a different reason. “I think the team will be successful more than other years because we have a better group of kids. Ones that are willing to work together for a common cause.” 

As of now, the team sits at 2-1 on the year, with victories over Mosinee and Madison Memorial as well as a loss to Notre Dame Academy. Though some might say the team has had a rocky start by losing a game this early on in the season, there are many more games to be had this year. Coming up, SPASH plays Wisconsin Rapids at home on Thursday, December 9th as Eau Claire Memorial on Saturday, December 11th. 

In conclusion, many players feel confident in the team’s abilities to be successful this season.  Furthermore, the team is looking towards a State Championship, building off of the successes of last year and improving even further.