Club status doesn’t hold team back

Photo by Nayeli Lara
As a club sport, Wheaton West includes athletes from five schools. Freshman Jacob Baxter warms up before the team's 2-1 win against Lyons Township.

By Nayeli Lara, Sports Editor

Being a club sport has not hindered Wheaton West Hockey from performing well as a unit.

The club includes players from Wheaton North, Wheaton Academy, St. Francis, Wheaton Warrenville South, and West Chicago.

“We find it’s actually kind of a fun experience for them. They get to meet kids from other schools as well as play with a lot of their buddies from their own schools,” head coach Keith Fahrforth said.  

Meeting new players from other schools and locations helps athletes bond as teammates.

“We actually have a kid from Wheaton Academy that is from China and a lot of the kids think it’s fun to meet a new culture and get intertwined with it a little bit and learn a little more,” Fahrforth said.  “It is also a different dynamic when you have some of the Wheaton kids and West Chicago kids and the private school kids. They all come from different upbringings and environments and they all kind of meld together and it works out pretty well.”

While a club sport may seem different to school sponsored athletes, Wheaton West players enjoy the experience.

“It’s just fun, you come out here and you play for each other,” sophomore Conor Tully said. “We all play hockey and that’s like a unifying language. Like you see on the Blackhawks, they have a new forward that doesn’t speak a bit of English but they all get along just fine.”

The drawback of being on a team that is not officially recognized by one school is the small spectator support.

“I’d like to see the turnout like at football games, with the squad and DJ Vito. If we keep winning games, maybe we can get some of that atmosphere here,” Tully said.  

Wheaton West is currently 6-5 in regular play and 2-1 in conference. As a club sport they play in the Illinois West Division which includes 12 other teams in the area.

Games are usually on Saturdays and Sundays and the team’s home rink is Addison Ice Arena.  The next home game is on Oct. 18 at 6:30.