Vikings play Northumberland
© File Photo
Vikings hockey player Alex VanSnick (right) will wear an A on his jersey this season, while Stephen Belyea will be the Vikings captain.
AMHERST - The Amherst Regional High School Vikings hockey team will honour Bill Hiltz before they drop the first puck of the 2013 high school hockey season Friday night.
"Bill Hiltz was the phys.ed teacher at ARHS for more than 30 years, right up until 2013. He retired in the spring," said Cory DeWitt, organizer of Friday night's event, and former student of Hiltz's.
Hiltz coached ARHS Vikings Hockey in the late 70s and early 80s.
Wayne Mackenzie played ARHS hockey in the mid-80s and is the coach of the present-day edition of the Vikings hockey team. MacKenzie never had Hiltz as a hockey coach but he was MacKenzie's phys.ed teacher.
"He was a very well-liked teacher and spent time with the kids," said MacKenzie. "He always wanted to see his students succeed. He was stern but the kids loved him."
The ceremony will take place just before the puck drops in their game against the Northumberland Nighthawks.
"We don't have the size we had last year and we have a younger team as well, so the boys will have to work hard in the corners and play smart," said MacKenzie.
Stephen Belyea is the Vikings captain.
"He's big and fast and smart with the puck, and he's a very hard worker," said MacKenzie. "He's also unbelievable on the power kill."
Belyea's assistant captains are Ryan Ackles, Mitchell Speight and Alex VanSnick.
"Ryan has good hands and is a very smart playmaker and Mitchell also has good hands and knows how to read the play," said MacKenzie. "Alex is a strong skater, a sniper and a playmaker."
He says the team will be system oriented.
"We're going to have to be a finesse team and get the puck to the net and make things happen," said MacKenzie.
Derek Hebert is back as an assistant and is joined on the bench by newcomers Darrell Cole and Bruce Belyea.
Mackenzie said the team has been easy to coach.
"They're just starting out but you can tell they have a strong willingness to listen and learn, which makes coaching very easy."
The game starts at 8:15 p.m. and the ticket booth opens at 7:30 p.m.