Even with a few players out of town for the holidays and sidelined for poor health, the Homer High School Mariner hockey team wasn’t about to miss an opportunity to take on alumni players at the Kevin Bell Arena on Friday. Forced to pull from the alumni roster to fill in for missing players, the Mariners claimed an 8-2 victory.
“You can say the varsity beat the alumni, but that’s not entirely true. We had some alumni on our team,” said Brad Roberts, manager of the HHS team. “But it went well and it was fun.”
It’s been a busy travel season for the Mariners, making an at-home game a welcome change. The team’s December schedule included a three-day Christmas Round Robin at Big Lake, where the Mariners skated to first place. That was followed by a trip to Southeast Alaska to take on the Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears, with the Mariners losing two games, each with a 4-1 score in the Crimson Bears’ favor.
“That four-day trip to Juneau just killed them,” said Roberts of the exhaustion from traveling and the resulting illness for some of the team. “That’s why we needed to mix it up.”
The alumni game was an opportunity for some former players to play with siblings currently on the HHS team “so that was kind of fun for them to skate with their brothers,” said Roberts, adding that Friday was the real deal, complete with three 15-minute periods and two refs.
Early in January the Mariners head to Anchorage for two non-conference games at the Ben Boeke Ice Arena. They play West High School on Jan. 9 and East High School on Jan. 10. Then, it’s back home, with the local fans invited to come support the team on Jan. 14 when the Mariners play SoHi at the Kevin Bell Arena. The game officially starts at 7:30 p.m., with warm-ups at 7 p.m.
The rest of the month the Mariners have away games against Wasilla, Palmer, Colony and SoHi, before returning to Homer to play Kenai on Jan. 28.
“We have two more home games in January so come to the games and help us out,” said Roberts of important fan support.
In February, Homer will be the home of the Regions tournament for the first time, with games scheduled for Feb. 6-8.
“It’s good to keep that on people’s minds because that’s a big deal,” said Roberts.
Between now and when school and practices resume Jan. 6, the Mariners get some time off and it will be “nice to have a full team when we start on the first day of school,” said Roberts.
McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Homer High School Hockey
Dec. 27, Kevin Bell Arena
Mariners 8, Alumni 2
Mark Reutov, alumni
Alex Sanarov, alumni,
Nikit Matveev, alumni
Dennis Sanarov, alumni