Hockey team plays season with Westfield High School


Used with permission of Al Miller.

Chantilly/Westfield team makes last minute adjustments to prepare to face off against the Loudoun Valley/Woodgrove team on Nov. 19.

Colin Denny, Staff Writer

In prior years, CHS and Westfield’s hockey players would be competing against each other in the same league. This year both CHS and Westfield’s coaches agreed to combine the two teams as one due to the shortage of players.

“I know a lot of the Westfield guys from playing with them in the spring,” sophomore and center Luke Dysart said. “It would be nice to have our own Chantilly team, but it just isn’t possible with the number of players and the lack of a goalie. However, we still get to wear our Chantilly jerseys, and combined teams aren’t too uncommon in our league.”

Players are familiar with their Westfield teammates as they practiced together during the fall pre-season and have already played several games together in the regular season. Westfield was a larger team than CHS, but both of the teams combined is just enough for a joint team.

“At first, I was skeptical about the combination, but now, I am happy to have [Westfield players on the team],” freshman and left defenseman JT Martenz said. “We have some really good hockey players from Westfield, and now we all just play as one team.”

With the return of in-person school, many rules and restrictions that were placed last season are now being loosened. Players do not have to wear masks while they are playing or when they are on the bench; however, it is strongly encouraged that if players are not vaccinated that they wear a mask. Fans also are not required to wear masks while they are in the arena.

“I definitely felt like there were some odd restrictions in the past, like no pushing or shoving each other around or having to wear masks on the ice, which were very difficult because of how hard it was to breathe with them on,” freshman and left defenseman Jayden Cavero said. “It seems that the majority of [the team] is now vaccinated, so we can go back to playing normally without any worries.”

Part of the Northern Virginia School Hockey League, the team plays at local rinks, such as Ashburn Ice House. They primarily play games against teams in Loudoun County, such as Riverside High School, Broad Run High School and Stone Bridge High School. The team manages to get about two games a season with teams in Fairfax County, such as South Lakes High School.   

This year, the team has only had practices in pre-season every Friday and they don’t have any practices scheduled for the regular season, which is very common for teams in the NVSHL. Many teams, including CHS, have not had practices during the regular season in past years. Without having practices during the season, many players will practice in their free time or in between games by themselves.

“Everyone on the team also plays on a travel or recreational team, so we’re all getting additional work in each week.” Dysart said. “High school hockey is really high energy with a lot more scoring and loud fans, so we’re adapting on the fly each game.”

Leadership positions are given to older and more experienced players. Currently the team is being led in points by Westfield player Jack Dougan and is led in saves by Westfield player Daniel Zakula. CHS player Gavin Jones leads the team in assists.

“My personal goal for the season is to round out my game.” Dysart said. “I want to create opportunities for goals while scoring them. I also want to step up and be a leader for the younger guys on the team.”

Even though the team has already played their biggest game of the season on Dec. 10 against their rivals, the combined Tuscarora and Heritage team, their last regular season game is on Feb. 12. So far the team has not won a regular season game this season.

“One thing I enjoy the most about hockey has got to be the amount of time I get to play and interact with my friends on the ice.” Cavero said. “Being able to play my favorite sport and being able to play it with my closest friends is like a win-win. Making goals and celebrating with your friends and your team is one of the best feelings you can imagine, especially in high school.”