The 11-49 record indicated a rough opening season, but injuries and illnesses fail to dampen the spirits of players reminiscing on fond memories with new teammates.
Photo by: Molly Carver
The St. Charles Chill inaugural hockey season came to a close Saturday, March 29, following Fan Appreciation Night, which drew more than 6,000 fans to the Family Arena.
A post-season party was held at Shamrocks in St. Charles, Mo., on Monday, March 31, where players, fans and the front office staff celebrated the inaugural season with a final gathering.
The players were eager to talk about how they felt the season went.
“I felt the season was difficult for the first year but being a new team and franchise sometimes that happens. I think the team and organization learned a lot this year and is heading in the right direction,” said Kyle O’Kane, forward for the Chill.
O’Kane was not the only one who believed the season’s 11-49 overall record may have been in part due to the Chill being a new organization in the Central Hockey League.
“I think the season could have went better. We didn’t make playoffs but we had a lot of close games. It’s to be expected with a new team,” said Cameron Cooper, defenseman for the Chill.
Cooper also weighed in on his experiences being on a team led by Coach Jamie Rivers, a former National Hockey League player.
“It was awesome playing for Coach Rivers. I learned so much from him as a past defenseman in the NHL. He taught me a lot of tricks and tips,” said Cooper.
Cooper’s teammate, Zach Josepher, felt similar about Coach Rivers.
“Playing for Coach Rivers was a lot of fun. I just learned as much as possible. He is a great influence,” said Josepher.
Some of the team members discussed the challenges they faced this season.
“I would say that the biggest challenge was having a completely new team and coaching staff. Everyone is trying to gel and obviously this season it didn’t work out that well and it took longer than we expected,” said Justin Levac, forward for the Chill.
O’Kane weighed in on the struggles of the first season.
“We had a few challenges we faced this season, we lost a lot of players to illness and injuries,” said O’Kane.
Even through illness and injury, the players reflected on the most memorable parts of the first season.
“My favorite memory with the Chill was the first game we won here at home against Brampton. It felt really good to win,” said Cooper.
Some of the guys had the opportunity to play at home for the first time.
“Playing in front of my hometown was a great experience and great opportunity that I won’t ever forget,” said rookie forward TJ Moor.
O’Kane, also from St. Louis, reflected on how great it was to play at home.
“Playing in my hometown was an unreal experience. Having my family and friends in the stands every night was so special. It is something unique and I will never forget it,” said O’Kane.
Outside of all the games the team played this season, they also attended many charity and non-profit events.
“My favorite event that I went to this season was the Boys and Girls Club of St. Charles, where we played floor hockey with the kids and just had a really great time,” said Josepher.
All the players agreed that next season they hope for more wins and a solid playoff run.
The Chill will be back in action later this year and a completed schedule will be available in June. You can keep an eye out for it on the St. Charles Chill website.