Ice hockey: Seven locals shine at Showcase
The Team Texas ice hockey squad did Houston proud at America's Showcase High School Tournament in Pittsburgh, Penn., April 13-17. The Showcase, a yearly honor, is put together by USA Hockey and allows high school hockey players from around the country the opportunity to compete against the best of the best.
Representing Houston were Tim Cosner, Payton Kellogg-Clark and Nate Kiven from the Cy Woods ISHL team; Daniel Casper, Adam Steranko, Leon Arnao and Zach Steelman from the Clear Lake ISHL team. ISHL (Interscholastic Hockey League) is made up of teams from Houston, separate from the high schools, but usually with players from the area high schools. Players from Austin and Dallas completed the Team Texas roster. Tryouts for the team were held in Dallas and Houston.
The Tournament this year was at the Island Sports Center of Robert Morris University. Team Texas head coach Reggie Hall said that his squad was focused beyond the state's traditional hockey centers.
"This year our team more broadly represented the entire state of Texas and included more size, skill and athletic ability than recent years," he said. "With tryout skates in both Houston and Dallas (a first for Team Texas) more kids than ever were exposed to the benefits and advantages of the highly scouted showcase and the player pool was expanded significantly."
Cy Woods coach Ian Kellogg-Clark had nothing but priase for his players.
"Timmy (Cosner) is a tremendous skater, fast, and a really good stick handler. Even though he was on defense, he was one of our main offensive weapons," the coach said, noting that Cosner finished the season with 15 goals and 13 assists. "Payton (Kellogg-Clark) has a really hard, quick, slap shot. Nate is one of those guys if you could clone him, every player would be just like him. He plays with so much heart and intensity."
Steranko, Casper, Arnao and Steelman played a big part in Clear Lake winning the ISHL City Championship this past season, according to their coach David King. He said Steranko, a junior at Clear Lake was a consummate hockey player: skilled, agile, physical, fast, playing hard at both ends of the ice.
"His ability to step up and score key goals throughout the season was remarkable," said King. "Daniel has what hockey players call 'soft hands' and is quite dazzling with the puck, scoring some highlight reel goals this year. He sees the whole ice when he plays and thus collects a lot of assists as well."
He also spread praise on Arnao and Steelman.
"With good size he is able to control the physical part of the game and has a devastating slap shot which resulted in some very nice goals this year," King said. "Zach was very effective at keeping the front of the net clear of opposing players and in many cases preventing them from reaching the goal at all."
In addition to the Houston players, Team Texas was represented by hockey players from Burleson, Frisco, Keller, Austin, Plano, Hurst, Arlington, Allen and Southlake for a total of 25 team members. The tournament gave the players the opportunity to showcase their hockey skills for scouts from major hockey colleges and universities from across the U.S.
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