Westmoreland County Senior Spotlight: Norwin’s Sean Hanley

Tuesday, November 22, 2022 | 12:37 PM

Norwin’s hockey team won the school’s first PIHL championship last year, a moment that created new memories for everyone on that roster.

One of those players was Sean Hanley, who finished with seven points, all assists, in 20 games last season.

Hanley described the feeling of being a part of such a special team.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better year,” Hanley said. “It felt like the school was there, and the whole school was behind us.”

Just five games into this season, Norwin is 4-1 and looking to repeat the success it had last year.

The Knights did lose nine seniors from last year’s team, a potential issue that has had no real effect so far. Hanley is one of just two seniors on this year’s team.

Hanley made the transition to defense this year, and he has already scored more goals, two, to go along with two assists.

Overall, Hanley’s confidence level is rising by the game as he is coached through the move to the back end.

“My confidence this year compared to last year has certainly gone up,” Hanley said. “Being one of the guys that was on the team last year, I kind of saw how they carried themselves. It really made it easy on me to step into the shoes of some of those guys from last year.”

Another change for Norwin, and the entirety of Class A, is that in the offseason, the PIHL condensed the number of divisions from five to two.

Hanley talked about the change and how he expects that to play out this season.

“It seems like our division (Blue) is more top heavy, and the other division (Gold) is more middle-class,” Hanley said. “We can do just as well as we did last year, and hopefully we can go back to states.”

Hanley is looking at a few colleges and would like to go into physical therapy.

This week, Hanley took some time for a Senior Spotlight Q&A:

How did you get started with hockey?

I started out at about 12 years old when my friends from school got me into dek hockey. I really wanted to make the transition to ice. I actually tried out for my first hockey team while I was still doing Learn to Skate lessons at Center Ice.

What is your role as a senior leader?

Truly, I’ve had to step up in a big way this year. But it’s nothing I don’t feel like I’m capable of doing, as I’ve done a good job to this point. It’s obviously big shoes to fill with some of the seniors that graduated last year. There were some great guys, some great leaders and obviously some great players. But I feel like some of the juniors on the team currently are also stepping up and filling the shoes along with the seniors.

Were you worried the senior losses would cause the team to start slow?

We were worried, but I feel like up until this point, we’ve played great. We’ve played our game. We played the style of play we wanted to play. We’ve still got some stuff to clean up, but I’m confident our guys can get it done. I have a good feeling that we can continue this hot streak.

What’s your biggest strength?

I would put my biggest strength at probably using my size and especially my confidence on the ice. I’m a big team player. I don’t try to be selfish at all. I try to use my confidence to my advantage. I feel like a lot of kids in high school don’t play with a lot of confidence, and I’m starting to take advantage of that this year.

Is there an area where you feel like you could improve?

Just getting moved back to defense this year, I’m a little shaky currently. My coaches and myself, my family has a lot of confidence in me that I can grow from this position. I feel like it’s going to be a really good year. I’m starting to get really comfortable on defense, and I’ve had some guys from the team really help me out. Especially Zach Singleton, he’s really caught me up to speed on defense already.

What is one thing that people may not know about you?

I’m a big scuba diver. I love scuba diving, and that’s really how I connect with my family and some of my friends.


More High School Hockey

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PIHL standings through Nov. 27, 2022
Westmoreland County Senior Spotlight: Franklin Regional’s Matt Knizner
A-K Valley Senior Spotlight: Freeport’s Jake Suwan
High school roundup for Nov. 22, 2022: North Catholic’s Bourque shuts out Avonworth