Hockey team seeks return to national championship

Although sports like football, volleyball, and basketball tend to get most of the attention in Frisco, there is one team that tends to go unnoticed: the hockey team.

With the team being made up of students from around the district, members from Liberty include two Redhawks on the varsity roster: juniors Andrew Cimino and Cole Enloe.

But with team members scattered throughout the district, the team doesn’t have a practice schedule like most school sports.

Featuring players from throughout the district, including five Redhawks, the Frisco Ice Hockey Association varsity team won the 2017 USA High School Hockey National Championship on April 3, 2017.

“We have practice for Frisco Wednesday morning at 6:15,” junior Cole Enloe said. “Club practice is usually scattered throughout the week, with games here and there, but game day’s for Frisco are on Thursday nights.”

The Frisco Ice Hockey Association is in the AT&T Metroplex High School Hockey League, comprised of five other cities in the area: Plano West, McKinney, Jesuit, Keller, and Carroll.

Head coach Ryan McLean grew up in the small town of Manitoba, Canada, but made the move to the Dallas area 11 years ago to eventually help shape the program.

“I am the varsity gold head coach. I’ve been coaching for 3 years, me and Mike Hogan have worked hard to bring in kids and build up the team,” head coach Ryan McLean said. “We’ve done unique things in the past so we’re really excited about that.”

That recent success: a national championship.

Won last year, the title brought attention to the Frisco Ice Hockey program, but high school hockey in the DFW metroplex was put on the map.

“So that championship was the first high school program to win it from Texas, so to be a part of that was one of the best experiences coaching,” McLean said. “Texas, I believe is just as much on the map now as the rest of the country, and even Canada.”

Provided by Cole Enloe
Junior Cole Enloe plays hockey for the Frisco Ice Hockey Association along with players from high schools throughout the district.

Junior, Andrew Cimino, who was on the championship team last year, remembers it as a great experience.

“Winning the national championship was big for me because I have been playing hockey all my life, so to have it amount to something is really cool,” Cimino said. “I think winning the championship last year brought a lot of exposure to the Frisco area, and made a lot more people interested in the game.”

This year, the hockey team is seeking to defend its title, but with the loss of 9 players that graduated in June, a repeat will be a challenge.

“The difference between this year and last year is we have a younger team this year,” McLean said. “We’re just as skilled, but we’ve lost a couple more than we’re used to in the past. That being said, the team is on track now, so our goal is still to win states and eventually get back to nationals.”

The combination of of the Frisco association’s success as well as the Dallas Stars’ prominence in the area have lead to a growing popularity of hockey in Texas.

“I think it brought a lot of eyes here, because we have a lot of skilled players here that not a lot of people know about,” Cimino said.

“If you think about how the Dallas Stars play their role in that: this rink for instance is where the stars practice, and the kids love that,” McLean said. “Hockey is growing and growing each year here.”