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Building Team Chemistry: Hockey Team Begins Blue & Gold Cup Challenge



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In addition to racking up goals on the ice, hoping they add up to wins and playoff success, Newtown High School's hockey team is looking to earn points through various challenges and tasks on and off the ice as part of the Blue & Gold Cup Challenge, this winter.

Standing on stage at Edmond Town Hall, team captains held a draft to create Blue and Gold Cup Challenge teams during the first week of the season, in mid December. The Nighthawk skaters had plenty of fun with this, learning about their teammates in the process. Each team member, upon being drafted, spoke a bit about himself, including interests and objectives — from hockey and family background to career pursuits.

Just like in a professional sports draft, those selected were presented with a team jersey to put on for photo opportunities. Coach Paul Esposito used computer and projector screen to display and update a draft board after each pick, as well as show personal pages created by each team member.

This was an opportunity for the players to share a bit about their families, favorite teams, past hockey-playing experience, career objectives, and goals this season.

Together, Nighthawks on each of these Blue and Gold teams are competing with opponents throughout a 20-game regular season. Within the next couple of months they will be competing within the team in on-ice activities, as well as fundraising and community service efforts.

"It's definitely going to help our team chemistry," Gold Team captain Andrew Gardner anticipates. "You get into a routine every day. It's nice to break it up and do something else. I think this is going to help us learn more about each other and become closer as a team."

The Cup Challenge stands to motivate the Nighthawks to put in a solid effort in practices, the captains believe.

"This will boost how hard people go in practice," Blue Team captain David Brestovansky said.

"We just want to have fun, healthy competition," noted Jetson Ku, also a Blue Team captain. "This will add to our journey to get to a state championship."

Matthias Paltauf is also a Gold Team captain. Managers Alexanne Bayuk, Savannah Duffy, Bella Ackilli, and Sarah Payne were also drafted.

Esposito said that in addition to community service work, an academic piece will be implemented, motivating the student-athletes to work hard in the class room as well as on the ice.

"It's a great way for the kids to learn about each other and have some fun," Esposito said.

David Brestovansky, left, and Jetson Ku, right, welcome goaltender Marcus Paltauf to the Blue Team as part of the Blue & Gold Cup Challenge, during a draft at Edmond Town Hall earlier this season. —Bee Photo, Hutchison
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