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Despite not having a team, East High hockey players find a way to stay in the game

Published: Apr. 21, 2021 at 11:01 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Anchorage School District high school hockey season is underway as seven schools play for a 2021 Cook Inlet Conference Championship. Due to a low turnout, East High School didn’t have a hockey team this spring, so ASD allowed students from East to suit up for other schools.

Most of the players that would have played for East are playing for West or Bartlett High School this season. The additional players have allowed Bartlett to have a complete 19-player roster this season after having anywhere from six to 12 players the past five seasons.

“It’s been good for our side of town, and Anchorage hockey,” Bartlett head coach Mike Vandenbos said. “It was the right thing to do.”

Players that would have played for East say getting the chance to catch their breath between shifts has made games more enjoyable.

“It’s good, able to get rest and have a chance to win games,” said Jonathan Hamner, an East High student playing for Bartlett. “We are skating a lot better — heads up, good passes, getting shots on net.”

While the Golden Bears are still searching for their first win, West remains competitive in the Cook Inlet Conference and is a point out of third place with two weeks remaining in the season.

“I just accept the guys for who they are,” West High head coach Rob Larkey said. “They chose to come to West High which I really appreciate, and they are helping our program out.”

For many of the Thunderbird players, getting the chance to play is the best part.

“I just love playing the game of hockey so anywhere I’ll go, I’ll definitely do that,” said Angus Nicholson, an East High student playing for West.

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