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New hockey coach looking to bring new attitude to team

Drew Goretzka, Staff Writer

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The hockey team has introduced Pete Wilkinson as their new head coach this year. With a slew of experience and energy, Wilkinson and his staff are hoping to bring a bright future to the accomplished program.

Wilkinson has been involved in playing and coaching hockey in his entire life. After playing division 1 hockey at Western Michigan University, Wilkinson spent his time completing graduate school coaching at his alma mater alongside the legendary Jim Murray.

“We had very good year,” Wilkinson said, “I believe we won 34 or 35 games so I’m proud of my work there.”

After graduating from college Wilkinson traveled to Houghton, Michigan to coach the Michigan Technological University hockey team. After several years of being the head coach of the Huskies, he became the head coach of the Gaylord High School hockey team.

Through his past, Wilkinson brings much experience to the Portage Central hockey program as well as a burst of life an energy, His plan for the already accomplished program is to not only reinforce the old methods left behind by former coaches, but also introduce new ideas that can take the team to new heights.

Wilkinson, however, is not interested in forcing the team into a specific game plan.

“Our main objective is to focus on our team’s strengths and base what we do off those,” Wilkinson said, “You can never craft a good team by forcing them to do something they’re not built to do.”

With experienced players such as Andrew Carothers and Andrew McNassor on the the roster, Wilkinson realizes that much of what he coaches will be derived from what the players show they can excel at.

Wilkinson is focusing on the players with a lesser focus on him when it comes to leadership. He is counting on senior players such as Max Banas to step up and become leaders on the team.

The roster itself is a mixed bag of returning, experienced players as well as new up-and-coming athletes hoping to make a name for themselves. These new players will have to compete with each for playing time.

WIlkinson’s main hope is for the team to compete and put pressure on the opposing team.

“If we go out on the ice and really compete and not give the other team anything, I can’t really complain.”

As for expectations regarding what the team hopes to accomplish this year, Wilkinson is leaving that up to the players.

“I’m not the one who is going to set the goals on the team. That’s up to the leaders on the team to step up and set goals. Of course I’m going to keep them accountable for these goals, but what they are is almost completely up to them.”

The hockey team’s next game is January 25 against Kalamazoo United.

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New hockey coach looking to bring new attitude to team