Nine Juneau-Douglas High School Crimson Bears senior hockey players will be skating their final home ice series this weekend. A senior recognition ceremony for them and their parents will be held at 7:45 p.m. on Friday night, before the face off of the series opener against the visiting Hutchison Hawks.
“We have 9 senior players this year, so next year will be a rebuilding year and their absence will be felt for sure,” Juneau-Douglas coach Dave McKenna said. “As a group they have worked really hard to compete throughout a season with a really challenging schedule. We have lost a lot of close games, but we have won when we needed to and will finish conference play in 3rd place with a good shot at making it to the state tournament in a few weeks.”
The Mid-Alaska Conference tournament is Feb. 1-2 at Fairbanks, home of last seasons MAC champion Lathrop Malemutes.
The nine senior players are:
Kevin “Ziggy” Zigarlick - Defenseman & Captain, 6-foot, 170-pounds, number 14. Zigarlick has done a great job as captain and leads by example with his work ethic. As a player he is very skilled, competes hard everyday, and plays with grit and determination. Coaches stated also that off the ice Zigarlick is a great student, reliably responsible, and keeps everyone upbeat and laughing. Best moment on ice - Playing in British Columbia provincials as a bantam. Advice to younger players - Don’t be afraid of Boline, he’s not that tough. Parents - Manuela and Wayne Zigarlick.
“It is a little different this season because we have such a big group of seniors,” Zigarlick said. “We have a lot of leadership so we set a good example for the under classmen. It has been a pretty good season. Hopefully we can get a couple wins this weekend for momentum into the playoffs. If we win one game in the playoffs it means we get a seed into the state tournament so hopefully we can make that happen.”
The Crimson Bears’ first round matchup in the MAC Conference Tournament is against Lathrop. JDHS hosted the Malemutes in early Dec., splitting the series with a 7-2 loss and a 1-1 tie.
“Hopefully we can come back with some vengeance and get a win,” Zigarlick said. “Hockey is such an adrenalin rush and the feeling when you win is unlike anything else.”
Tod “Todler” Baseden - Forward & Assistant Captain, 5-foot-9, 150-pounds, number 21. According to coaches, Baseden is the workhorse of the team, and the Crimson Bears have relied on him to play forward, defense, power play, penalty kill...essentially everything but goalie. A true competitor who can keep up with anyone in the league, and a great leader on the ice. Best moment on ice - Beating Lathrop. Advice to younger players - Don’t be late. Parents - May and Steve Baseden.
“It has been a lot of fun over the past four years playing with this group of guys and it is a great chance for us to make the state tournament if we execute our game plans,” Baseden said. “Our forecheck and contact made it a close game when we played Lathrop last month. If we execute like that next week there is a good chance we make the state tournament. I like being with the hockey team and the game a lot. There is a camradrie as you strive for these moments on the ice, and being a captain means you have to be a role model to the younger kids.”
Marc “Marky Mark” Heifetz - Forward & Assistant Captain, 6-foot, 178-pounds, number 4. Heifetz consistently leads by example both on and off the ice. Coaches state he is one of the Crimson Bears most coachable players and brings a positive attitude everyday that makes the whole team better. Best moment on ice - Scoring a goal against Lathrop sophomore year. Advice to younger players - Don’t be late and don’t give McKenna a black eye. Parents - Carin Smolin and Jon Heifetz.
“This year has been a lot different than past years,” Heifetz said. “Being an assistant captain the coaches put a lot more leadership roles on us, and being a senior a lot more is expected out of us. It is a lot more pressure but it has made me a better hockey player and person. Our main goal has been to make the state tournament, that has been a goal year after year, but we really want to beat Lathrop. We talk about that weekend-to-weekend, no matter what happens in the games. What I like about hockey is the speed of the game and the contact, there is no other game like it... fast flowing and never stopping.”
Griffin “Griff” Bozarth - Goalie, 6-foot-3, 220-pounds, number 30. Coaches stated Bozarth has had a great year in net for the Crimson Bears sharing ice time with fellow senior net minder Colter Pritchard. Bozarth played football the last two years which has helped with his conditioning and overall athleticism. Best moment on ice - When I first played goalie. Advice to younger players - Above else work hard. Parents - Nancy and Dr. Gordon Bozarth.
Colter “Bug” Pritchard - Goalie, 5-foot-7, 150-pounds, number 1. Pritchard has been the Crimson Bears starting goaltender for the majority of games over the last two seasons. A natural athlete, and a real competitor, he is always the first one on the ice and has a real passion for the game. Best moment on ice - Garrett Cheeseman, after my first varsity game, handed me the game puck. Advice to younger players - Herbies are a given, just do them! Parents - April and Brad Sapp.
“It has been a fun and great year,” Pritchard said. “We were glad to see the captains step up and lead the team. It is neat to have such a great variety of seniors. We want to finish the season strong and know that we are a solid team, win or lose, that we are a good team and can play the game of hockey.”
Connor “Condor” Brown - Forward, 6-foot-2, 240-pounds, number 19. According to coaches, Brown is the unsung hero on the team and an ideal teammate. He works hard everyday, never complains, and has improved more in 4 years than any other player in memory. Best moment on ice - My first Herbie. Advice to younger players - Eat something small and healthy before practice. Parents - Libby McDonough and Chris Brown.
Matthew “Killer/Soupie” Campbell - Forward, 6-foot-one, 230-pounds, number 20. Campbell stands out for his dedication and versatility. He started out playing defense and made the switch to forward last year. A talented musician and standout student, Campbell has been a pleasure to coach, always asking questions and getting better and better year after year. Best moment on ice - First varsity goal. Advice to younger players - Keep questions to a minimum. Parents - Judy and Andrew Campbell.
Kevin “KSIB” Sigler - Defense, 6-foot-1, 190-pounds, number 18. According to coaches, Sigler has worked incredibly hard over his career and surprised a lot of people with the level of play he has attained. Never one to shy away from physical play, Sigler adds a lot of size and grit to the Crimson Bears’ defense. Best moment on ice - First high school game. Advice to younger players - Work hard in the off-season. Parents - Flora and Mike Sigler.
Dillon Tomaro - Forward, 5-foot-9, 180-pounds, number 24. Tomaro might be the Crimson Bears’ strongest player, and has done a great job on the checking line. Tomaro has been a varsity player for four years, and adds a lot of character to the team. Best ice moment - Assistant coach Matt Boline says to Billy “Next time you do that I’m going to break your stick into a million pieces and sweep it up with your tears.” Advice to younger players - Stay on McKenna’s good side. Parents - Debbey and Paul Tomaro.
“It has been a great year, everybody stepped up and set a good example for the younger kids,” Tomaro said. “Everybody works hard. We plan on beating Lathrop and going to state. We can definitely beat them, our last game with them was really close and I do not think we were 100 percent focused that game. I know we will come in strong now and will probably win it.”
Coach McKenna and assistants Luke Adams, Matt Boline and Jay Lloyd also acknowledge the hard work of senior managers Taylee Escalante, Thelea Savlick, and Jade Pilcher.
Game times for the Hutchison series are 8 p.m. on Friday (15 minutes after senior ceremonies) and 7 p.m. Saturday.