If the state of Michigan ever gives Michigan high school hockey teams the go-ahead to play, the Roosevelt Bears are ready — more than ready.
The Bears have suffered through a couple of tough seasons the last few years, but while they have been absorbing losses, they have been gaining experience and getting better and better.
This year, they are poised to show the world what they have learned and how far they have come.
“We think we can have a decent year,” said coach Mike Quint. “We played pretty well in the few games we had over the summer and the make up of this team is good.”
Qunit said the delay caused by the state of Michigan’s “pause” has been hard to take.
“It’s very frustrating,” he said. “The future is unsure. “We started out well and we hope that when – and if – we get back to it, we can pick up where we left off.
“I feel bad for the kids; they’ve missed so much. I hope they at least get this season.”
The Michigan High School Athletic Association is trying hard to finish it’s fall-season football, swimming and volleyball state tournaments. Quint says he wishes it would have done the same for the hockey teams last spring.
The MHSAA halted the 2020 state hockey tournament right after the quarterfinal games were played, meaning there were just semifinals and finals to go.
“There were only three days left in the season when they cancelled,” said Quint, who has taken a team to a state championship and knows what a thrill it is to play on the big ice at USA Arena in Plymouth. “My heart goes out to those kids who missed out.”
When the Bears get back on the ice, they will be a well-balanced team led by seven seniors. The Bears have strength and depth in goal, s solid six-man defensive rotation and s group of forwards that is three lines deep.
Those forwards have Quint smiling.
“We have three lines that can really compete,” he said. “We have two lines that may be as good as anybody’s top two lines and our third line can go out and hold their own with anyone.
“This is the first time in a long time that I have had three full lines this good.”
Among the top forwards will be returning seniors Jason Cuppari, Zakk Cieravino and Ray Isham; and sophomore William Haskett.
A couple of key Roosevelt defensemen graduated at the end of last season, but the Bears will not lose much as seniors Jason Johnson and Luke Beaubien have stepped into key leadership roles on the back end for the Bears.
Returning Junior Josh Mills is making the transition from forward to defense and his 6-foot-4 frame makes him an intimidating presence on the ice, according to Quint.
Another plus for the Wyandotte defense comes in the form of freshman Ben Patterson, who comes to the team after playing a high level of travel hockey. Quint called him “an impact player.”
Junior Connor Wilson and sophomore Gavin Dunn round out this year’s blueliners.
Roosevelt’s last line of defense will be a good one.
“We will be strong between the pipes,” Quint admitted. “One thing we have had through the years here at Wyandotte is good goaltending.”
The Bears will carry three netminders this year: Junior Aiden Jordan, senior Sam Shifflet and senior Brett Botts.