Hockey By Rylee Craig


When you think of high schoolers playing sports most people’s minds go to the typical sports like football, volleyball, and basketball. But what about the students that play sports that are not as popular. One non traditional sport that is not offered here at East is hockey. In fact, most Nebraska schools do not offer hockey as one of their sports. So where are these students going to participate in these activities and how are they finding out about these different teams?

Senior Shay Jennemen says he has been playing hockey since he was four years old. Jennemen said what got him interested in it were signs advertising roller hockey at Skate City.

“I’ve played for plenty of roller hockey rec teams however I’ve also played for the Omaha Predators and State Wars roller hockey teams. For ice hockey I played for 3 different house teams and now I play for Omaha Metro,” Jennemen said.

Jennemen is not the only student here at East who plays hockey. Senior Skyler Svajal and Freshmen Lilly Svajal have both been playing hockey since 2012, and over the years both of them have fallen in love with the sport. The Svajals both began their hockey journey by learning how to skate by going to Tiny Tot skating at Skate City.

“The owner of Skate City, Dave Frank, who taught me to skate, encouraged me to try roller hockey.  I did and loved it.  After a year of roller hockey, I decided to try ice hockey because I wanted to try something new and I thought it was more challenging and inclusive,” Lilly Svajal said.

One of the local hockey teams in the Metro area is the Omaha Metro hockey league. Both Jennemen and Skyler Svajal play in this league. Skyler Svajal says that since he has been playing for so long, hockey is his favorite sport and he loves playing it more than anything else. Hockey has become a crucial part of his life.

“I’m happy when I’m on the ice. I can block everything else out and nothing else matters,” Skyler Svajal said.

Lilly Svajal also plays for the Omaha Metro hockey league for the U19 Lady Junior Lancers. Lilly Svajal says that it is her first season playing with her new team, and that it is extremely competitive since it is a nationally ranked team and requires a lot of hard work and dedication. She says it takes a lot of skill in various areas to play hockey.

“It is both a mental and a physical game, you have to use your brain, it is a strategic game and you have to know what you are doing to do it well,” Lilly Svajal said.

In the end, while hockey may not be as popular as in Nebraska, there are still many people who enjoy it. Making sure that these students get the proper recognition for their accomplishments is just as important as acknowledging players of other sports.

“I would say the thing that I take the most pride in as a hockey player would be in the sport itself. There isn’t just one thing that I can take pride in because I take pride in the entire sport,” Jennemen said.