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Lakers gearing up for a hockey season like no other

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by Joshua Spaulding
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Sports Editor - Salmon Press Newspapers
January 06, 2021
LACONIA — The Laconia-Winnisquam-Inter-Lakes hockey team will certainly be doing things a bit differently this year.

But coach Paul Wheaton said the kids are adjusting and working through all the changes as they prepare for a new season.

"The less than perfect environment we are in has made things difficult, but we have a great group of student-athletes who are willing and able to meet this challenge," said Wheaton.

The changes that are in place for the Lakers include their time together being limited. Additionally, the team is not allowed to use the locker room, as they bring their gear to and from the rink each day and change in lawn chairs at the far end of the Merrill Fay Arena in Laconia. The players enter 15 minutes before their scheduled time and leave 15 minutes after practice has ended. The players record each other's temperature each day and they wear masks.

"A much different atmosphere to say the least, but we will do whatever we have to do to ensure that these men get a chance to play hockey," Wheaton said.

The Lakers will return a number of solid players to the roster, led by goalie Evan Rollins. In front of him will be returning defenders Andrew Spicuzza and Ryan Bousquet. Up front, Wheaton will turn to returning wingers Carter Smith and Ethan Bickford and center Kam Young.

Additionally, a trio of newcomers is making a name for themselves. Zachary Cafarella, Austin Keenan and Brody Rollins will all be expected to make some noise in their first years on the team.

"Our goal is to create a positive experience for our student-athletes, to build a family culture and to compete each and every night," Wheaton said.

As was the case in the fall sports season, the winter sports season will feature a regionalized schedule and that means a lot of games for the Lakers against some of the top teams in Division III. LWI is scheduled to play two games each against Kearsarge-Plymouth and rinkmates Belmont-Gilford, as well as four games each against Berlin-Gorham and Kennett, who shared the Division III championship last year after the title game between the two teams was cancelled due to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Lakers were scheduled to play two games against Division II Kingswood at the end of January, but as this goes to press, Kingswood is not approved for winter sports. The Governor Wentworth Regional School Board voted in early December to not allow winter sports, though the possibility remains that the Knights could be back in action

Of course, all schedules are subject to change.

The Lakers are scheduled to start the season on Wednesday, Jan. 13, at 4:30 p.m. at home against Berlin-Gorham.

Sports Editor Joshua Spaulding can be reached at 279-4516, ext. 155 or josh@salmonpress.news.

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