Seniors shoot for their future goals

Despite some setbacks, the seniors of the District 117 Lakers hockey team are proud of what they have accomplished.

Senior+Jason+Fogel%2C+as+well+as+other+seniors%2C+got+to+spend+time+with+their+families+on+the+ice+on+Saturday%2C+Jan.+8.+

Meryl Resurreccion

Senior Jason Fogel, as well as other seniors, got to spend time with their families on the ice on Saturday, Jan. 8.

In a thrilling senior night game against PREP on Saturday, Jan. 8, the Lakers varsity hockey team unfortunately lost 3-0 and the junior varsity team lost 6-1. Nonetheless, they were heavily cheered on by their families and friends from schools like Antioch, Lakes, Grayslake Central, Grayslake North and Grant. However, this season may be coming to an end for some of Antioch’s seniors, while others possibly have more skating and shooting to do in the future. There were a lot of decorations at the Rec Plex to celebrate the seniors, such as personal photos of the players, custom big head cutouts and boxes that displayed their achievements.  In addition, their jerseys were hung up along the boards of the rink, and there was a post-game party with soda and cake. Lakers’ Antioch seniors include Jason Fogel, Gavin Frank, Braydon Salata, Sam Sheedy and Tyler Cook. In similar ways, they have been trying to make the most out of this season both personally and as a team. The Lakers’ newest player, Salata, has been working on his personal success.

“I try my hardest to score as many goals as possible,” Salata said.

On the other hand, his teammate, Frank, has a different perspective on what he has been focusing on.

“I try to go to every practice and conditioning so I don’t miss out on any of the memories of my last year of hockey,” Frank said.

Even though practices,conditioning and other events can be draining for some, they are beneficial ways for bonding and improvement. Sheedy has made an effort to attend all hockey events, such as board meetings and fundraisers, to support the Lakers;. in addition, Fogel has used social media, specifically Snapchat, to promote the team

“I’ve been trying to get people to the games and promote the program as best as possible,” Fogel said.

Senior night was one of the biggest crowds the team has played for this year. Thankfully, Salata made the change from the Milwaukee Junior Admirals to the Lakers, which made a large impact on the team’s atmosphere and playing ability.

“It is much closer to home, and I have the chance to play in front of friends from school and family that weren’t able to make it to some of my games last season,” Salata said.

But what exactly were the origins for these players to start skating the puck? Most were inspired by the Chicago Blackhawks. For Sheedy, former Corey Crawford was the player to catch his eye.

“He was the last line of defense and a very good goalie, so he sort of got me interested in the sport,” Sheedy said.

Sheedy became a goalie for the first half of his freshman season and since then has been on the defensive line. Likewise, Crawford’s teammate, Patrick Kane, inspired Salata.

“After he scored the game-winning goal in 2010 to win the Stanley Cup, I told my parents I want to play hockey,” Salata said.

Playing alongside Kane was Niklas Hjalmarsson, who sparked Frank’s interest.

“My parents and my family would always compare me to him when I was a kid because they said we had ‘the same love for the game,’” Frank said.

Similarly to Hjalmarsson, Frank tries to block shots, no matter how painful they are, to help the Lakers  win. Since then, his new inspiration is Connor McDavid, who plays for the Edmonton Oilers. 

While these seniors have fallen in love with the sport, they do not necessarily have to say their farewells just yet. Sheedy hopes to still be involved after high school, whether it be the college or a club.

“Ideally, my top colleges are Drake, Bradley, Vanderbilt and UIUC, so if I could, I would love to be involved with sports with those schools,” Sheedy said.

Although their future plans are yet to be finalized, what they can do for now is look back on their favorite experiences from this season. These experiences can range from exhilarating to heartfelt. For Frank, it was the varsity team’s first game.

“I was very nervous, and I remember all I could think about was ‘this is it. Don’t mess it up. It’s your last season, make the most of it,’” Frank said.

Sheedy’s was funnier than others, as it was something he’s never seen happen.

“The most memorable moment for me would probably be when I hit someone and snapped their stick into three pieces,” Sheedy said.

Salata dedicated his moment to a loved one.

“The most memorable for me was when I scored in one of our games after my grandfather passed away,” Salata said.

While Fogel didn’t have a specific moment, he loved having former teammate and one of his best friends, Jack Shaughnessy, be an assistant coach for the team. 

“This has made the season and practices so much more fun,” Fogel said.

Overall, each senior has compiled their own memories with the team, and although they have different hopes for the future, the connection they will forever share is their love for hockey and the team.