Honoring the seniors of the WHS/SHS Hockey team

New Haven, CT 3/19/2016 - High School Ice Hockey – Division III Final: Westhill-Stamford Vikings vs. Staples/Weston/Shelton Wreckers. Westhill-Stamford Vikings celebrate their 5-4 win as the clock runs out. Stan Godlewski for CPTV Sports

Saturday, February 18th was the senior night for boy’s hockey. Purple, gold, orange and black balloons covered the railings of Terry Conners. Posters with senior’s names and numbers covered the walls. The boys played first, against New Canaan. The game ended with a 1-3 score with New Canaan in the lead. Westhill junior Cooper Healy scored the first and only Stamford goal, assisted by Gavin Dolan. It was a very tense game. In the second period, New Canaan tied the game. All eyes were on senior and Assistant Captain John Nilsen as he took a shot that seemed to go in the net, but the referees disagreed. Most of the players believed it was a goal but the referee said that the puck hit the crossbar and then didn’t cross the goal line.

Many players and fans believed it should have counted. The collective cheer turned into jeers from the Stamford side as the referee announced his decision. One of the students shouted “how much are they paying you?!” in response. New Canaan scored again, further upsetting the Stamford dominated crowd. The last goal was scored right as the buzzer went off. “Over all, the team played very well considering New Canaan is a top tier team in the state. It was a close game up to the third period, which we should have won, but it was a hard fought battle and quite fun,” said Nilsen.

Even though they lost, senior night really meant a lot to the players. Athletes sacrifice a lot for their sport. Hockey players wake up at ungodly hours to practice and give up their personal safety for the sport. A lot of sports cause injuries to the players and hockey is no exception. Hockey involves athletes flying around hitting each other with knives attached to their feet. They should be recognized for the risks they take just by playing the sport. “Seniors have been through it all, they’ve really died for the program. All the early morning practices… I couldn’t ski for the past 3 years. You have to give up a lot and it’s just nice to be recognized for what you’ve done and what you’ve missed out on because of playing a sport,” said Nilsen.

Senior night is one night dedicated to showing the seniors that they are appreciated. To some, senior night is not just for the senior athletes but also for the entire senior class. “It’s your last game of varsity sports, and it’s where you see how far you’ve come as a team. It’s pretty special. It’s a time to show the senior class that you appreciate their support the entire season, and you push to make the school proud and your friends proud. It’s your last chance to make an impression,” said Josh Mensah (’18).

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