Source: Sherman Publications

Hockey coach vacuum quickly filled

by Gabriel L. Ouzounian

July 27, 2011

Following a very successful season, Pat Cherry has retired from his post as head of the Lake Orion High School Varsity Hockey Team.

The vacant spot did not remain open long.

Nick Field, former JV Hockey Coach, has taken the reigns, ice-Dragons, bringing with him his coaching staff. He found out about the vacancy in June and quickly expressed interest.

“From a coaching standpoint, going from JV to Varsity isn’t a whole lot different,” said Field. “It’s more of a perk of the job than anything else, because the skill level overall jumps with the kids getting stronger, bigger and faster. We have a lot of skilled guys coming back this year, a lot of seniors and I expect a lot out of them overall.

“Nick Balavich is going to put some points on the board, as will Shane Stockwell. We have a number of guys that make our forward play really deep, like Daniel Chapie, Zach Koonce, Elliot Rinke, and Dylan Rosen, who’s a really big guy. On top of it all, we have a new goalie this year by the name of Drew Galasso, who comes to us from travel hockey and should really help give us an edge.”

Field said because of these advantages, the team has a good chance to go to State Finals again in 2012. The team finished this year in the semifinals after taking the Oakland Athletic Association Red Division and Regional Championships.

Field, originally from Jackson, grew up playing hockey, originally encouraged to play by his father. By the time he reached his teenage years, he had fallen in love with the game, going so far as minor professional circuits.

“It’s funny, I had such a passion for the game, but when I started working I stopped playing because it became too much of a time commitment,” said Fields. “A good friend of mine coached at Stoney Creek last year and he let me know about Lake Orion.

“I got in contact with Pat Cherry and I found out, unlike most other teams, Lake Orion Hockey teams practice at night. This allowed me to work and still be involved with the sport.”

Fields has high hopes for the year, but that doesn’t mean he’s blind to the stiff competition in Orion’s league. In addition to Stoney Creek, which he said he want’s “to beat every time,” Clarkston appears to be the biggest threat.

Coming from JV to Varsity alongside Fields is Forward Coach Marc Norrington, Defensive Coach Aaron Hunt and Goalie Coach Josh Block. JV broke even on wins, loses and ties in the 2010/11 season, playing what Fields called a .500 season.

Tryouts will be in November.