Rebuilding Fox Chapel hockey team gets scrimmage action
A program that was in limbo made a return to the ice last month and offered a glimmer of hope for the future.
The Fox Chapel High School hockey team did not have enough varsity players to produce a team this past winter and the schedule was cancelled.
Thanks to the efforts of the Fox Chapel Hockey Club board and coach Rick Villani, a team was put together and got to play some scrimmage games.
Villani, who has been coaching hockey for nearly 20 years, was pleased with how things worked out.
“I had been coaching the JV team. When the idea first came out, I felt that we had enough players from the JV team talented enough to play up,” Villani said. “So, we hurried up and put a tournament roster together and began calling some schools to schedule scrimmage games.
“We played Gateway and Sewickley Academy and did well. We were up by 8-0 on Gateway when they stopped keeping score. Gateway finished third or fourth in their division and made the playoffs. We beat Sewickley Academy, 3-1. We also scrimmaged Shaler and split the teams up. We have a good group of guys and they did well. They play well together.”
Villani is hoping that the efforts to put a team together so late in the season will bode well for next season.
“We wanted to generate some interest and it was a lot of fun,” he said. “The kids did this for the community and the high school and we built a lot of camaraderie. Everybody is excited about the future.”
Villani is optimistic.
“We hope to have a varsity, junior varsity and freshman team next season,” he said.
“We've already arranged for some ice time in the spring and summer. We will also work on developing a strong youth hockey program. We want to get the younger kids interested. I'd like to coach the varsity for a few seasons and then hand the reins over. At that point, I want to go back to helping the kids at the developmental level. The youth program is so important.”
As far as rebuilding the varsity team, Villani has a plan in place.
“I like to build from the goalies up,” Villani said. “And we're fortunate to have two very good, young goalies in Scott Trellis and Chad Veltri. We'll be working hard to have a solid team ready for next season.”
Marty Stewart is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-782-2123 or firstname.lastname@example.org.