Jamie Schuman of the Upper Arlington High School hockey team sometimes leaves practice feeling like he just played a game, and that's just what his new coach wants to hear.
"We have a much faster pace, getting more speed going through the zone and (being) a lot more physical, trying to play NHL-style hockey," said Schuman, a junior forward. "We obviously don't have that talent, but we want to play hard."
Schuman's reference to the NHL was not hyperbole, as the Golden Bears are in their first season under former Blue Jackets right winger David Clarkson.
"(Clarkson) knows what he is doing," senior forward Cam Staub said. "The drills are more catered to the game; more in-game situations, working on our forechecks, breakouts, things like that.
"It's a huge difference and a good one. He can give us so much knowledge."
Having recorded 14 goals and 15 assists last season, Staub is the most experienced returnee from a team that finished 21-8-3-1 overall and 13-3 (26 points) in the Capital Hockey Conference-Red Division and lost to Olentangy Liberty 2-1 in a district semifinal.
UA lost its top three scorers to graduation, including state Player of the Year Jack Dolan, a forward who led the team in goals (49), assists (29) and points (78) and earned ThisWeek's Hockey Athlete of the Year honors. Among the Bears' other losses was goaltender Philip Hawthorne, a two-year starter.
UA is 2-2-0-1 overall, having lost its first three games before winning two in a row to finish the Chiller Thanksgiving Classic last weekend at Chiller Dublin.
Clarkson, who was a volunteer coach for the Bears last season and replaced Bill Beard in March, is in his 12th NHL season but has not appeared in a game since March 11, 2016, because of a chronic back injury. The Blue Jackets placed him on long-term injured reserve last season before trading him to the expansion Vegas Golden Knights in June.
Clarkson, who underwent back surgery last spring and said he will undergo another after UA's season, likely will never play for Vegas. He is on long-term injured reserve this season and has two more seasons left on his contract, which has an annual average value of $5.25 million.
"When I said yes to (coaching the Bears), I really wanted to build a program," Clarkson said. "I wanted to focus a lot of effort there to grow the kids and make them competitive.
"We just want to see how guys play. The way we're coaching them is to develop the kids. When you do something like this, you want this to be a great experience they can look back on the rest of their lives. We need to work hard and continue to build as a program."
The Bears opened with a 4-1 loss to Toledo St. Francis, Beard's new team, on Nov. 18 at OhioHealth Ice Haus. Staub scored and freshman goalie Garrett Alderman made 33 saves.
"I want to have a big season," said Staub, who has a team-high six goals. "I want to facilitate a lot of plays."
In the Chiller Thanksgiving Classic last weekend at Chiller Dublin, UA lost to Mentor Lake Catholic (3-2 in a shootout Nov. 24) and St. Charles (3-0 on Nov. 25) before defeating Dublin Coffman (4-2 on Nov. 25) and Springboro (3-2 in a shootout Nov. 26).
Rounding out the roster are seniors A.J. Cleveland (def-enseman), Brock Curtis (forward), Tommy Due (forward), Jake Evans (forward), Max Hamlin (defenseman), Jack Lawless (defenseman), Gordie MacDonald (forward) and Nate Skidmore (for-ward/defenseman), juniors Cam Keller (goalie), Brett LaBuhn (forward), Brendan Larmor (forward), Michael Moul (defenseman) and Mitch Scott (forward), sophomores Todd Bainbridge (forward), Will Lawless (defenseman) and Duncan MacDonald (forward) and freshmen Will Cohen (forward) and Whitty Tevonian (defenseman).
Evans suffered a torn left ACL during a football game in September but hopes to return later this season.
UA begins CHC play Friday, Dec. 1, against Olentangy at the Ice Haus. The Bears placed third in the CHC-Red last season behind co-champions Liberty and St. Charles, both of which finished 14-2 (28 points).
Nov. 18 -- Toledo St. Francis at OhioHealth Ice Haus
Nov. 24 -- Mentor Lake Catholic in Chiller Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller Dublin
Nov. 25 -- Dublin Coffman and St. Charles in Chiller Thanksgiving Classic
Nov. 26 -- Springboro in Chiller Thanksgiving Classic
*Dec. 1 -- Olentangy at OhioHealth Ice Haus
*Dec. 2 -- DeSales at Chiller Easton
*Dec. 3 -- Thomas Worthington at Chiller North
*Dec. 8 -- Dublin Coffman at OhioHealth Ice Haus
*Dec. 9 -- Cincinnati Moeller at Northland Ice Center
Dec. 15-17 -- Parma Holiday Tournament at Michael A. Ries Ice Rink
*Dec. 22 -- Gahanna at Chiller Easton
*Dec. 23 -- Dublin Jerome at Chiller Dublin
Dec. 27-29 -- Eagle Classic at Winterhurst Ice Skating Rink
*Jan. 5 -- St. Charles at OhioHealth Ice Haus
*Jan. 6 -- Watterson at OhioHealth Ice Haus
Jan. 12-14 -- Mark Rasmus Memorial Tournament at Tam O'Shanter
*Jan. 20 -- New Albany at OhioHealth Ice Haus
*Jan. 21 -- Olentangy Liberty at Chiller North
*Jan. 27 -- Dublin Jerome at OhioHealth Ice Haus
*Jan. 28 -- St. Charles at OhioHealth Ice Haus
*Feb. 2 -- Olentangy Liberty at OhioHealth Ice Haus
*Feb. 3 -- New Albany at Chiller Easton
*Feb. 4 -- Olentangy Orange at OhioHealth Ice Haus
Feb. 8-11 -- Blue Jackets Cup at TBA
Below are the coming schedules for the Upper Arlington boys basketball, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
Dec. 5 -- At Wellington
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 1 -- Home vs. Olentangy Orange
Dec. 2 -- Home vs. Olentangy Liberty
Dec. 2 -- Lee Spitzer Golden Bear Invitational at home
Dec. 6 -- At Olentangy Orange