The Upper Arlington High School hockey team is on its fourth head coach in as many seasons, but perhaps new coach Brett Howden's biggest hope is that this transition will go so smoothly that the Golden Bears will hardly notice.
"Our main goal is to continue to build on the foundation that David Clarkson put in place last year and that Bill Beard started the year before that," Howden said. "We return a fair amount of players who have bought into the system. We don't return a lot of scoring, but depth will be a strength and so will be our goaltending with two goalies back."
Seniors Cam Keller (goaltender), Brett LaBuhn (forward), Michael Moul (defenseman) and Jamie Schuman (defenseman), junior Will Lawless (defenseman) and sophomore Garrett Alderman (goalie) are among the returnees for UA, which went 16-15-1-2 overall and reached a district semifinal last season despite being ravaged by injuries.
Lawless and Moul both missed time last year because of broken ankles. Labuhn was third on the team in goals with nine.
UA is 3-1 entering its Capital Hockey Conference opener Saturday, Dec. 1, against Cincinnati Moeller at OhioHealth Ice Haus.
Howden, a native of Caledonia, Ontario, served as junior varsity coach and assistant varsity coach last season under Clarkson, a former Blue Jackets player who stepped down this fall because of persistent health issues and temporarily has relocated to Colorado.
Clarkson was a volunteer assistant during the 2016-17 season under Beard, who coached UA for one season before leaving for Toledo St. Francis.
"David isn't physically here, but (assistant coach) Hamish (Baird) and I speak with him frequently," Howden said. "We value his input. We rely on it."
The coaching staff also includes assistant Jack Hoogeveen, who was 259-114-21 as Olentangy Liberty's first coach from 2007-18 and won 297 games between stops at Liberty and Gahanna (2003-07).
The Bears finished second in the Gray Division of the season-opening Chiller Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller Dublin. They opened with a 5-2 win over Mentor Lake Catholic on Nov. 23, beat Dublin Coffman 6-0 and Whitehouse Anthony Wayne 3-0 on Nov. 24 and fell to Dublin Jerome 4-2 on Nov. 25.
"We have three strong lines so far and on defense, nobody is younger than a sophomore. We have a lot of experience and we're building on what we've been doing," said Schuman, who played forward last season but was a defenseman as a sophomore. "It's going to be a battle with Cam and Garrett in goal. I think they're pretty much equal and they're both going to get a lot of playing time. We can depend on both of them."
Rounding out the roster are seniors Tom Alexander (defenseman), Eric Chene (forward), Brendan Larmor (forward), Mitch Scott (forward), Hunter Triplett (forward) and Jack Wrightsel (forward), juniors Todd Bainbridge (defenseman), Tim Kramer (forward) and Duncan MacDonald (forward), sophomores Will Cohen (forward) and Whitty Tevonian (defenseman) and freshmen Sam Burns (forward), Sam Cannon (forward) and Max Robins (forward).
Kramer is a move-in from Forest Hills, Michigan, a suburb of Grand Rapids. Triplett and Wrightsel previously played in the AAA Blue Jackets organization.
Triplett made an immediate impact, accounting for eight of UA's 16 goals last weekend.
"Our lines aren't quite set yet, but I think our forwards will be a strength," Kramer said. "As we're getting to know each other more, our personalities are emerging and we're working together better."
UA went 9-5-0-2 (20 points) in the league last year to finish fourth in the Red Division behind champion Jerome (30, 15-1).
"We believe in the talent we have in the locker room," Howden said. "If they continue to buy into the system and foundation we have put in place, we think we can make a nice run. We're up against some pretty good talent around here in teams like Dublin Jerome and Olentangy Liberty. We firmly believe we can compete with them."
Athletes announce college decisions
Fourteen student-athletes announced their college decisions Nov. 14.
Olivia Carlton will play softball at Findlay, Alec Caswell will swim at Johns Hopkins, Holly Darling will dive at West Virginia, Tommy Dilz will play baseball at Bellarmine, Grace Golembiewski will play field hockey at Saint Louis, Ethan Hammerberg will play baseball at Ohio State, Heidi Heuerman will run women's cross country and track and field at Wisconsin, Jackie Kasai will play softball at Baldwin Wallace, Paige Kompa will play women's tennis at Dayton, Max Martz will play men's basketball at Pennsylvania, Mikayla Messinger will row at Washington, Quinn Patterson will golf at Akron, Sammy Sass will play baseball at Wright State and Macy Spielman will play women's basketball at Bowling Green.
Nov. 23 -- Mentor Lake Catholic in Chiller Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller Dublin
Nov. 24 -- Dublin Coffman and Whitehouse Anthony Wayne in Chiller Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller Dublin
Nov. 25 -- Dublin Jerome in Chiller Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller Dublin
*Dec. 1 -- Cincinnati Moeller at OhioHealth Ice Haus
*Dec. 2 -- Watterson at Chiller Dublin
*Dec. 9 -- Olentangy Liberty at Chiller North
Dec. 14-16 -- Parma Padua Holiday Tournament at OBM Arena
*Dec. 21 -- Olentangy Orange at OhioHealth Ice Haus
*Dec. 22 -- Olentangy at Chiller North
*Dec. 28 -- Olentangy Liberty at OhioHealth Ice Haus
*Dec. 29 -- Dublin Coffman at Chiller Dublin
Jan. 4-6 -- Brother James Memorial Tournament at Gilmour Academy Ice Arena
*Jan. 11 -- St. Charles at OhioHealth Ice Haus
*Jan. 12 -- Cincinnati Moeller at Northland Ice Center
*Jan. 13 -- Dublin Jerome at Chiller Dublin
Jan. 18-20 -- Mark Rasmus Memorial Tournament at Tam O'Shanter in Sylvania
*Jan. 25 -- Dublin Jerome at OhioHealth Ice Haus
*Jan. 26 -- Springboro at OhioHealth Ice Haus
*Feb. 1 -- St. Charles at OhioHealth Ice Haus
*Feb. 2 -- New Albany at OhioHealth Ice Haus
*Feb. 3 -- New Albany at Chiller Easton
Feb. 7-10 -- Blue Jackets Cup
Below are the coming schedules for the Upper Arlington boys basketball, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
Dec. 1 -- Huber Heights Wayne in All-Ohio Nike Hoops Showcase at Pickerington North
SWIMMING & DIVING
Nov. 30 -- Home vs. Olentangy Orange
Dec. 1 -- Home vs. Olentangy Liberty
Dec. 1 -- Lee Spitzer Golden Bear Invitational at home