The Canfield High School hockey team embarks on its 16th year overall and 13th as an OHSAA sanctioned team. The Cards will again play in the Greater Cleveland High School Hockey League, but in the newly formed Blue Central East division, with two league games against Brush, Nordonia, Twinsburg, and West Geauga. Canfield will also play a tough cross over schedule with teams from the Blue Central West: Bay, Brooklyn, Garfield Heights, Lakewood, and Western Reserve Academy.
Canfield has had its share of ups and downs over the last several seasons and looks to rebound after a 5-21 season. Randy Emery begins his sixth season as head coach of the Cardinals, who return three seniors to the lineup for the 2012-13 campaign.
"We are in a competitive division for us," Emery claims. "It's a matter coming together as a team, making good decisions, and executing, if we want success this season."
Senior captain Josh Tancer returns for his fourth varsity campaign. Tancer has played mainly defense for the Cards, but coach Emery indicates he will "use him wherever needed, he's that type of teammate." Tancer has put the Cardinal uniform on for 74 games and brings "leadership and experience to our team," Emery added.
Senior forward Pat Bassett begins his third varsity season for the Cards. He chipped in two goals and four assists last season in 21 games. Also, senior forward Jared Daugherty laces up the skates for his second varsity season.
Emery stated, "Our seniors love the game of hockey and they all bring an added leadership quality to our young team."
The Cards are hoping to benefit offensively from junior captain Nick Crescimanno's ability to distribute the puck and his net presence, as Crescimanno brings five goals and 14 assists in his two seasons. Junior defenseman Tim Fernstrom will be counted on for his toughness and ability to protect in front of junior goaltender Megan Cole. Cole has the tough task of replacing the OHSAA all-time saves leader, Roger Geiser, who graduated last season. Junior TJ Sakkas looks to help offensively after an injury riddled season last year and classmate Britanny Bettile shores up the defense.
The sophomore class is headed by forward Danny Drotleff, who saw action in 26 games last year as a freshman. Defenseman JP Clendenin and forward PJ Denney, who both played in half the varsity games last season, bring added toughness to the ice. Mitchell Blasko and Grant Guillia will step up to varsity this season after playing for the developmental team last year.
This season's freshman class will hope to earn playing time as Pete Crescimanno, Collin Fishel, and backup goal tender Patrick Byrne all put the varsity sweaters on for the first time.
Varsity coaching assistants Paul Barnes and Joe Villano bring plenty of experience to the team. Barnes is in his fourth year coaching the Canfield defense, while Joe Villano, former head coach of the team, has been with the program for 14 seasons, and returns to work with the goal tenders. The Cards open the 2012-13 season on Friday, Nov. 23, hosting the 12th annual Canfield Hockey Thanksgiving tournament. Avon High School, Mentor High junior varsity, and West Geauga will compete with Canfield at the Ice Zone in Boardman.
For full season schedule and team news, visit www.eteamz.com/canfieldhockey.