The HyBreeze

The Student News Site of Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School

The HyBreeze

The HyBreeze

Wings, Forward, Score!

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Legs pumping and aching, a blade slicing through ice with each step, the player glides toward the net. The enemy team is right on their tail, their eyes on the puck sliding between the swishing stick. The distance between the puck and goal is closed quickly.The player sees the glare from beneath the goalie’s helmet. The stick is pulled back and shot forward. The puck goes flying. The sound of the puck clashing into the netting, knocking slightly against the back goal post, rings out around the rink. The players’ teammates rush to them, cheering as the teams side of the scoreboard ticks up a number. 

Former teammates Peter Cramer and Aiden Casa hugging it out after a goal, courtesy of Steve Savan

Some students may be unaware of the high school’s hockey team. In the past few years, the hockey team has struggled to keep its numbers up. Back in 2019 the team struggled to have enough players, and ended up a developmental team. The team started taking in any individual who was interested in the sport, no matter what their skill level.

After a year of that, the team gained enough publicity and members to regain its status as a varsity team, which it held for two more years. This past year, the team lost ten members, as well as three of its past coaches, and has since been unable to get enough members to be a varsity team, once again. However, the team and new head coach, Craig Massello, are very determined to keep playing. Massello and team members want to spread the word that once again they want and need members to join them.

Massello first gained an interest in hockey in 1984, when he was in 6th grade, and has been playing ever since. He grew up in New York when the Stanley Cup, a trophy won during a large hockey competition, was won frequently, which gave “a buzz around the sport.”

Massello first started playing roller hockey, and was only allowed to play ice hockey after he “threatened to play football for [his] school”. 

His parents felt hockey would be safer than football.  By the time he’d dislocated his shoulder in a college game, “it was too late, and [Massello] was hooked!”

He began coaching in Cape Cod, Massachusetts for two years in 2000. During that time, he worked with 12U (12 and under), and 14U teams.  Massello then took a break from coaching, due to travel and work, but started back up in coaching in 2018, as an assistant coach to the Strongsville Mustangs youth hockey program. After this, he joined the Cleveland Sharks, where he works as the Hockey Director and was the head coach for the 12U for two years and now their 14U team.

Massello is thrilled to be working with the bees.  “It all just seemed to fit”, when it comes to the task. He remembers, a not-so-distant-past, where the Bees hockey team was a formidable and rather competitive team, and he’d like to bring that back.  He says, “I want to see us get back to that. I think we can offer everything the private schools can, without the private school costs.”

Former player Mauli Chopra and current player Kendall Barrett fighting for a puck against a rival team, courtesy of Steve Savan

Massello quotes the saying, ‘If you build it, they will come,’ when asked how he plans to tackle the low numbers. The effort to rebuild the team starts with publicity, and grows with potential player’s interest.  Massello says, the core of the team, the Bees have now is strong, and will “only get stronger in the next few years”.

 One of Massello’s bigger long term goals is to get an ice rink built for Brecksville.  The team has always had to scramble to find ice time at other rinks, often leaving the team to have late practice times. Having a rink of Brecksville’s own, would give the team the ability to host youth programs to get more kids involved in the sport.

He says, “Ideally, we could provide the opportunity for all kids in the area, to grow ice hockey locally and field teams from the Learn to Play level all the way up to 14U while participating in the local Cleveland Suburban Hockey League (CSHL). All of that would help to create a feeder system for BBHHS hockey in the years to come.”

Where some view not being a varsity sport as a disadvantage, this status for the team may help it in regrouping and rebuilding.  Not being restricted by the OHSAA rostering, allows the team to extend its practice offering to the middle school,  which can also help generate interest in the team. 

Despite these challenges, “There is a lot to be excited about,” Massello states.   Support for the team is coming in from everywhere, from the Bees Hockey Booster Club,  to the athletic administration. People seem determined to get the team up and running again.

One aspect that may make students hesitant to give hockey a try is the time commitment or level of intensity the sport can have. Massello reports that this season will be “As intense as we can make it without scaring anyone away!” The main goal of this upcoming season is to spark interest to grow the teams numbers, teach new members the skills they need to know to be successful moving forward, and help returning members hone in these skills to allow them to grow as players. Practice and games are meant to be enjoyable, and may be a bit lax but “there will be a standard of excellence and accountability that all players will be expected to maintain,” and try to push players without being overwhelming.

If being on the ice isn’t your thing but you still want to help the team out there will be a Chipotle Fundraiser on the 28th of October from 4-8 p.m, however the team is open for any and everyone to come. To new players, thinking about giving the team a try, the team’s first practice will be held on Thursday 11/2 from 9:15-10:15 p.m. “Come out and try it, you have nothing to lose!!” Massello encourages.

 

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About the Contributor
Haydyn Kirby, Staff Writer
Haydyn Kirby is a Senior at BBH High School, this is her first year in the Hybreeze. She is also a member of the marching bees Flagline, as well as the hockey and bowling teams. Haydyn is a part of the NHS and has been partaking in creative writing for seven years. She is excited to join the Hybreeze staff and bring interesting stories to the BBH community.

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