By Tori Wittenbrock
ASHWAUBENON – After a four year hiatus, the Green Bay United boys hockey team has made their return to the ice for 18 and under youth.
Because many of the high schools in the area do not offer the opportunity for boys to play ice hockey, the GB United team is open to a variety of students in the area, including the Green Bay Area School District, Oconto and Door County.
The team welcomes any and all players and is registered as a 501(3)(c) organization.
Ashwaubenon High School graduate and GB United Head Coach Casey Tilkens said that he is looking forward to seeing what the new team will bring this year in terms of talent and work ethic.
“It’s going to be exciting because we’ve got a really young group,” said Tilkens.
“We’ve got a good chunk of young players, so we’ve been getting to see the older guys that have been traveling kind of help those younger guys step into our model that we are going to draw for the year and the goals that we want to achieve.”
While it is exciting to see the team starting up again, Tilkens said that there are a few changes this time.
“I think the biggest change for us is running through COVID. Everybody kind of ran through tough times at that point, so just having the parent and player involvement again, and just having players this time around who are committed and ready to make a run for something good is great to see,” said Tilkens.
There are a few things that Tilkens said he is looking for out of his team this time around as they enter a rebuilding period for the program.
“I just want to see some player improvement. I want to see them come together as a team, and obviously we want to play and win good hockey games, so just building towards that and trying to be the best we can be is our biggest goal right now.”
However, the team has faced a few challenges so far as they get things back up and running again.
“I would say that bringing back the younger kids has been the biggest challenge so far. We’ve got a big group of younger kids, so that can be very exciting for a program, but taking that step from Phantom to high school is a big challenge and a big commitment,” said Tilkens.
“Getting that commitment out of some of those younger kids and starting to see how they can grow and build on and expand the team has been interesting.”
Many of the players on the team have been playing all summer and are well prepared for games to start up again in a few months.
In addition to the team’s upcoming season, GB United is also hosting a Trivia Night Fundraiser on August 23, from 6:00-9:30 p.m.
Any and all funds raised during the event will be allocated towards support for the team through the funding of referee fees and ice time. More information about the event can be found at https://facebook.com/events/s/trivia-night/1703584056783706/
Registration information and the team’s summer camp schedule can be found at https://www.facebook.com/gbuhockey.gryphons?mibextid=LQQJ4d