Prep ice hockey: Corner Canyon wastes no time
In a year that will be full of inaugural moments for Corner Canyon High School, the Chargers' hockey team nearly has run out of ink filling the history book.
First sporting event? Check. First victory? Check.
First championship? That will be determined in the coming weeks, but the Chargers are making their case as the club sport favorite.
Corner Canyon was unbeaten in its first six games entering the week, capped by a dominant 6-0 victory against Skyline at Salt Lake City's Steiner Ice Arena last week.
"It's amazing, a real good feeling," junior Jonathan Suggs, who scored a hat trick against Skyline, said about the team's early success. "We're setting the bar high for all other Corner Canyon teams. And if we could win [a championship], that would set the bar even higher for the winter."
The novelty of representing a school that is two months from officially opening its doors isn't lost on the players or coach Ben Wilner.
"It is a little strange, but it's kind of cool at the same time," Wilner said. "We're the first team at the school, we got the first win [3-2 against Park City] and that goes down in school history. That's kind of fun."
The Chargers, who play with a patchwork roster of players who will compete next winter for Corner Canyon and Alta, have surprised even themselves with how quickly they have jelled.
Starting goaltender Tegan Stevens is on loan from Murray High. Corner Canyon was allowed to add talented forwards Lindros Beard and Derek Sederman because Alta did not field a summer team.
Nearly every one of the 11 players who will attend Corner Canyon when it opens in August played for Alta last season.
"We're doing a lot better than I thought we would," said Chandler Miller, the team's lone senior.
Corner Canyon principal Mary Bailey is the club's advisor and was instrumental in putting the team on the ice this summer. The team signed the game puck from the Skyline victory and presented it to Bailey this week as thanks for her support.
"She's gone out of her way to be the adviser and to make sure we didn't lose any momentum to start the season early," said Chris Lilley, trustee for the Corner Canyon club and newly elected president of the Utah High School Hockey Association. "If we didn't have a summer team at Corner Canyon, we wouldn't have had a team at all in Draper and Sandy."
The club cleared the logistical hurdles that come with trying to field a team at a school that doesn't yet exist, and now the ice time the players see, the time they spend working together, will help immensely when the puck drops in the regular season later this year.
"We have a good combination of kids at all different levels," Wilner said. "Some of the less experienced kids get to play with the more experienced kids. For them to all come together and win games, that's big. Sometimes it doesn't work out, but it has for us."
First of the firsts
• Corner Canyon High, which opens in August, sports a hockey team that entered the week unbeaten in its first six games.
• The Chargers' 14-player roster consists of 10 future Corner Canyon students, three Alta players and a goalie on loan from Murray High.
• Corner Canyon principal Mary Bailey serves as the team advisor and was instrumental in getting the club team up and running for the summer season.