Sports Feature: Boys Ice Hockey junior Rocco Garcia

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Photo Courtesy of Rocco Garcia

Junior Rocco Garcia looks to break free of three defenders and drive to the goal.

By Remi Goldstein, Lead Sports Editor

Embracing every opportunity his junior season has to offer, boys Varsity Ice Hockey player Rocco Garcia has made every minute of the season count. Prior to the season, there was a lot of uncertainty regarding the logistics of how the season would play out. Luckily, the league was able to figure out a way to safely proceed with winter sports. When his team started practicing on Jan. 3, Garcia immediately went into first gear.

Taking his game to the next level, Garcia’s hard work during the offseason has undeniably paid off. The junior leads the team with eight points in the first eight games of the season. With three goals and five assists, Garcia has started the season strong. In addition he has three power-play goals, the most of any player in N.J. Although Garcia has the most amount of points on the team, he remains humble in the fact that he could not do it alone.

“The whole junior class has stepped up from being the young guns last year to top point scorers this year,” Garcia said. “This strong junior class will be lethal in the McInnis division next year.”

In addition to his impressive amount of points, one of the most noticeable changes in Garcia’s game is his leadership on and off the ice. He has reciprocated the encouraging attitude his upperclassman had during his freshman and sophomore years and carried that tone to this season’s underclassmen. With only one captain, Gil Prial, who goes to James Caldwell High School, Garcia has had to step up and take on a leadership role. 

“I’ve done my best to teach the younger players the ins and outs of high school hockey just like my upperclassmen did for me,” Garcia said. “The season has been different than the past years but we’ve managed to get the team together and create a good bond.”

The team only has four regular season games remaining until they enter the 2021 playoffs.  Typically the league has both playoffs and a state tournament, but COVID-19 has prevented the state tournament from happening. Although the state tournament is usually the biggest tournament of the year, the playoffs now take on that role and Garcia is committed to making the most of every shift in order to give his team the best chance of winning. 

“My hope for the second half of the season is to work hard every minute I’m on the ice and to win the next four games in order to go into the playoffs as one of the top teams in our division,” Garcia said.

Even though the season is full of uncertainty, one thing the team can count on is for Garcia to continue to give his best day in and day out until the final whistle blows.