BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Williamsville North was two days away from playing in the state hockey championships when the New York State Public High School Athletic Association made the decision to suspend winter championships indefinitely.
“I mean on the bus was kind of tough, I don’t think it hit a lot of us until we came into the locker room but everyone’s there for each other like we have been all year and it made it easier,” senior Sam Gattuso said. “Four, five six years together even from modified, it’s just tough. It all happens, everyone reaches the end at some point, but at least we knew when our last practice was.”
“Everybody’s really upset. It was a silent locker room and everyone got dressed immediately when we got in there, that never happens,” senior Mason Meggo said. “It was overall just really upsetting. I think we handled it the best we could’ve but it’s bad news.”
“It’s really tough, I’ve been dreaming of going to this ever since I saw them win it freshman year,” senior Matthew Scott said. “I felt crushed when I heard the news on the bus. Being out on the ice feels a lot better, we’re all joking around, but it still sucks.”
The Spartans found out the news on the bus to the rink today, and decided to take the ice one last time as a team.
“At the end of the day, considering all consequences, we heard the news together, and we get another chance at practice today,” senior Evan Wolfson said. “I think that’s all that matters. We heard it together, we get to hug each other, we get to talk to each other, and that’s something special.”
“A lot of teams really want another shot, just to practice, not even another game. Just being here and getting one more chance with each other and just practicing, whatever. Just being together, that’s what’s important at this point.”
The Spartans finish the season as one of the final four teams playing in the high school ice hockey state playoffs. The 15-8-1 overall record doesn’t even touch the surface on what the season meant to this team.
“They should be proud of what they’ve done,” head coach Bob Rosen said. “Regardless of how this has unfolded, they won their last game. They’ve got to focus on that.”
“The big thing about hockey and why I do it is the friendships that you make. This will be something that they’ll be able to rally around the rest of their life and build off of. You’re going to have friends that will last you forever.”
“This season was kind of a dream come true, nobody really expected us to get this far, and to prove everybody wrong is just amazing,” Meggo said. “I love every kid on this team, I’ve created lifelong friendships, and I couldn’t ask for much more.”