Gateway works to build hockey program

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Saturday, December 30, 2017 | 6:27 PM


Results were not the top priority heading into the hockey season for the Gateway junior varsity team.

Shawn Jesih took over as coach of the Gators in trying to help them get the program up and running.

Jesih also coaches the Pittsburgh Huskies in the amateur hockey league.

“It has been trying,” Jesih said. “We had a lot of new talent and have been trying get everyone on the same page. We have been in a couple of close games, and we have one win.”

Gateway's win came in the season opener against Carrick.

Leading the offense halfway through the season has been senior Jonathan Porter. Porter is one of the more experienced members on the Gators squad as he also plays on the Pittsburgh Vipers AAU team.

Also contributing have been Leo Gratton and Tyler Jesih.

Tyler is the son of coach Shawn, and Gratton has missed some time with a concussion.

More importantly than their production on the ice, Shawn Jesih is pleased with the leadership of his veterans in helping the newcomers adjust to playing competitive high school hockey.

“They are committed and working even when we don't have practice and games to get caught up to speed,” Jesih said. “I am just trying to get everybody to work as a team. It is challenging, but me and my coaching staff seem to be doing a good job to come up with some stuff during practice.”

A couple of newcomers who have made an impact are freshman goalie Nate Cirucci and sophomore Luke Skledar.

It hasn't been all bad or Gateway as it was able to hold its Alumni Game this past week. For Jesih, it was good to see former Gators come back and help the building process.

“We had an alumni game last night, which is nice to get all the kids together,” Jesih said. “It was decent turnout and a lot of fun.

“The alumni were able to talk to them and take it all in. It was nice for them to see they can still play after their school days are done.”

Drew Karpen is a freelance writer.

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