ALPENA, MI – The Alpena Wildcats hockey program surpassed all of the high expectations set for the 2022-23 season. As the team prepares for their highly anticipated 2023-24 season, Alpena’s goals remain the same.
Reflecting on Alpena’s 2022-23 season, it’s safe to say that you just had to be there. Stepping into Northern Lights Arena for a sold-out home game created a contagious feeling of excitement when that “dream team” hit the ice.
The Wildcats went undefeated in the Big North Conference while breaking a school record for wins in the process. One of the team’s biggest wins came during a legendary comeback battle for their third consecutive regional championship over Marquette.
Despite last year’s historic season, the Wildcats are wiping the slate clean to look at their upcoming season with a fresh set of eyes. This year’s team is focusing on creating their very own legacy. “We’ve already set team goals,” said Head Coach Ben Henry. “I 100 percent plan to be in the quarterfinal game this year.”
Graduating ten seniors and Sophomore captains, Harrison Kaszubowski and Reid Meinhardt, fans will see a brand new hockey team this season. This year’s squad introduces 14 players which allows a chance for the upperclassmen to transform into leaders. “They just have to compete,” said Captain Garrett Hamp. “You have to get in their way and be competitive.”
The Wildcats singlehandedly rejuvenated the community, turning Alpena into a passionate hockey town. This year’s team has one request for their community…bring that same energy this time around. “It’s super hard coming into a rink that’s full of 2,000 plus fans cheering for Alpena,” said Henry. “It’s obviously a huge advantage.”
The Wildcats host a scrimmage featuring several local teams on November 11. Alpena’s first regular season matchup is on the road against Hancock Central on November 17 at 7 p.m.