A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the name of the JDHS goalie. The player’s name is Dawson Hickok, not Hunter as previously stated. This article has been updated to reflect this change. The Empire regrets the error.
It wasn’t the best year for Juneau-Douglas High School hockey. They won only a handful of games this year and with losses to the Soldotna Stars this past weekend, their season is over.
The Crimson Bears lost their games to the Soldotna Stars Friday and Saturday. Friday’s game ended 6-1 for Soldotna and Saturday ended at 6-0.
The team played through a tough schedule after losing 13 seniors last year and is going through a rebuilding year, according to coach Luke Adams.
“Just like any season, you have to take your bumps and bruises along the way, but all of this experience will payoff in the long run,” Adams said. “I’m confident (this group) will be ready and eager to get going at the start of next season to prove they can compete with the other teams in our conference.”
The Crimson Bears came away from this season with three wins and 14 losses, and Saturday was the last home game for the team’s seniors.
“It’s obviously sad,” said Carl Doutt, a JDHS senior, of his last games at the Treadwell Arena. “But it’s been a good four years, and I enjoyed it a lot.”
Doutt said the seniors who left last year had pushed him to be a better player during practice.
“They were all better and I had to be better than someone (else) on the team to play, that helped a lot,” Doutt said.
Doutt said the team’s captain Ethan Welch stepped up and was a good leader for the team. Adams, too, said Welch had done well for the team.
“He’s the type of player you can’t replace because he has been so dynamic on and off the ice” Adams said. “We’ll miss him, but I know our younger players are ready to take on the challenge now that he’s graduating.”
Doutt said he will start taking basic classes at the University of Alaska Southeast in the fall and is still figuring out his future. But he does want to keep playing hockey.
“I started when I was 7,” he said. “It’s been a big part of my life.”
He said he won’t necessarily play at a college level, but he wanted to keep playing one way or another.
Looking to next year, Adams thinks the experience gained this season will pay off.
“We will have a core group of experienced hockey players returning next season as upperclassmen,” Adams said. “Dawson Hickok in goal, Taylor Bentley at defense, and Sam Bovitz at center.”
Adams said those three have been leaders since they arrived in the program, and will lead the team in the right direction. And next year is going to see a lot of talent, according to Adams.
“JDHS Hockey will definitely have a different look next season. A very skilled and talented incoming freshman class along with 36 returning players will leave us with a large pool fighting for a limited number of roster spots.”
Competition within the program will be good for the team, according to Adams.
“Competition breeds excellence,” Adams said.