Pre-season look in to the 2022-23 Roxbury Hockey Team

Roxbury Hockey has been a public school powerhouse in the High School hockey world over the past decade and looks to add more hardware to the collection this season. After a harsh 2021-22 season, the Gaels look to greatly improve going into this season. They have all the pieces to make a good run as they are in a new easier division with a lot of new firepower to add to the returning talent. Last season Roxbury spent their season with their heads hardly above the water in the Halverson division as they were simply outmatched by the superior teams within that division. The Gaels have lost a ton of players since their championship run in 2021, and it was obvious they weren’t the same team they were in the years prior. Roxbury lost its top two offensive lines, starting goalie, and top defenseman all in the span of one offseason. The returning players were simply out-skilled every night in the Halverson division and the Gaels managed to muster up a measly one win on the season. 

 

This year, things look to be much different as Roxbury enters their new division, the Haas, as one of the most talented rosters in the league. Covid-19 ran rampant through the team around halfway through the season, forcing the Gaels to play shorthanded against some of north jersey’s best teams. They look to quickly show why this season is going to bring a welcome change. You can tell this change has already begun by some of the answers the players gave when asked why this year is different. “The team has a winning mentality this year and we seem a lot more focused,” said defenseman Conner Francis. Following this statement, Jake Calanni declared “We’re gonna win a lot more games this year”. 

 

Roxbury hasn’t been in the Haas division since they won itl years ago. A lot has happened since then, as they have made multiple championship appearances in the Halverson division and even spent a year in the Mennen division. Their new division is one of the reasons the team believes this is their year. “We have one of the most talented teams in the Haas and we’re gonna win,” claimed forward Jules Pizzo. You can tell the players are ready to play and prepared to show off their skills. 

 

Roxbury has one of the deepest teams in the division and they seem to get better every day as captain’s practices have begun and the players prepare for the start of tryouts. Among these players, a couple of names stick out including the team’s captain Jake Calanni, Roxbury’s 2022 winter sport freshman athlete of the year Ryan Vanzile, and the team’s starting Goalie Mikey Guadingino who looks to put up a dominant sophomore year. Not only are these players skilled but they have the right mindset, too. This was evidenced when Calanni was asked how he will lead the team to improve and he replied “I look to be the best leader I can be and help inspire the boys to keep fighting whether we are winning or losing”. Roxbury certainly has the pieces to win and it’s all about producing when it counts and these athletes performing to the best of their abilities. Tasked with guiding this team to reaching the peaks of their abilities is the winningest coach in Roxbury hockey history Jon Benbow. 

 

The Gaels are in the best situation to take home a championship since 2020 based on their roster and the teams they will be competing against. There will certainly be very few similarities between this year and last season. The team is in a new place and, despite not having any experience in the Haas, Roxbury looks to take the division by storm. There’s a new mindset going into this season that stands out compared to the past few years. This is a team fueled by the pains and memories of last year’s disappointing season and they are now filled with the excitement of a new conquerable challenge.