Although Eric Park is entering his first season as coach of the Dublin Coffman High School hockey team, he is keenly aware that most of his players lack varsity experience.

Although Eric Park is entering his first season as coach of the Dublin Coffman High School hockey team, he is keenly aware that most of his players lack varsity experience.

"When we started practicing together, I looked out on the ice and only eight of our 23 players had names on their jerseys because the other 15 guys are new to our team," Park said. "Just about everything about our team is new, including our entire coaching staff, so there's going to be a learning curve this season. But the thing that surprised me and impressed me the most about our players is how eager they are to learn and absorb everything that we're teaching."

The Shamrocks, who finished 23-9-2-1 last season, open Friday, Nov. 25, against Gahanna in the Midwest Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller Dublin. Coffman opens Capital Hockey Conference play Dec. 4 against Cincinnati Moeller at Chiller Dublin.

Coffman's leading scorer has returned in senior forward Kevin Putnam, who had 43 goals and 48 assists last season.

Junior forward Chris DiBiase, who had 10 goals and four assists, also is back.

Junior Eric Gute is Coffman's top returning defenseman and senior Kyle Burich is the No. 1 goaltender.

Last season, Gute had one goal and nine assists and was plus-30, while Burich earned a 5-2 record with a 2.05 goals-against average and a 90.3 save percentage.

Coffman's other four returning letterwinners are junior forwards Gunner Gruehl and Allen Yi, sophomore forward Caleb Powell and senior defenseman Michael Bennett.

Gruehl had six goals and seven assists last season.

Newcomers playing forward are senior Zach Briggs, junior Brett Vaughan, sophomores Nate Babner, Mark Heneman, Matt King, J.T. Latshaw, Zachary Niemiec and Jason Strine and freshmen Tyler Burich, Kyle Marcinick and Trevor Rawdon.

Junior Cody Laux will play in goal, and senior Nate Fister, sophomore Nathan Rusin and freshman Thomas Tate will play defense.

"We're not a physically big team and we're not going to be able to out-bang teams, that's for sure," Park said. "We're undersized, but our guys aren't scared to stick their noses in there and be physical. And we can get up and down the ice with our quickness, and Kyle has the potential to be real solid in goal."

Coffman finished fourth (10-2-1, 21 points) in the CHC last season behind co-champions Dublin Jerome and Olentangy Liberty (12-1, 24) and Cincinnati Moeller (11-2, 22).

Rounding out the standings were St. Charles (7-4-2, 16), Upper Arlington (7-4-1-1, 16), Olentangy Orange (6-4-3, 15), Olentangy (7-6, 14), Thomas Worthington (5-7-1, 11), Gahanna (4-9, 8), DeSales (3-9-0-1, 7), Worthington Kilbourne (2-11, 4), Dublin Scioto (1-12, 2) and Watterson (0-13, 0).

Coffman opened the Blue Jackets Cup with a 10-3 victory over St. Charles and beat Jerome 2-1 in a semifinal before losing to Liberty 3-2 in the final.

The Shamrocks opened the district tournament with a 7-1 win over Kilbourne before beating St. Charles 3-1 and losing to Liberty 3-0 in a semifinal.

"Our team goals haven't changed," Park said. "We want to improve every single game so we can peak in the Blue Jackets Cup and district tournament."