Varsity Hockey Down the Stretch

By Brad Seeber ’14

The Avon Old Farms Hockey Program has earned a reputation for excellence as the premier prep school hockey program in New England. The highly anticipated 2011-2012-hockey season began with the grueling and intense tryouts that Coach Gardner put the team through. Coach Gardner enters his 38th year as the varsity hockey coach at Avon Old Farms School. His teams have won eight New England Prep Division I Championships and produced numerous college and professional athletes. He is approaching 700 wins in his amazing career, with only 200 loses.  After Gardner’s careful selections he was able to narrow down to a roster of 27 players, now currently at 26 with the absence of Nick Santoro.  The roster contains an even balance of upper classmen and under classmen: 13 seniors, nine juniors, four sophomores and one freshman. This should keep a competitive roster for the next few years.
The hockey team’s captains this year are the senior standouts of a Montreal Canadian draft pick, Colin Sullivan ’12 and our school warden Dylan Shamburger ’12. The team’s record is at the impressive standing of 15-4-1, a record that surely should allow Avon to have a place in the New England hockey tournament. Out of these 15 victories, huge wins came against teams like: Taft (3-0), Deerfield (8-2), Loomis Chaffee (9-0) Westminster (twice) and Albany Academy (5-0). The team has been led by adequate senior leadership and the players’ sheer determination to win that coveted 9th New England hockey championship, an especially profound feat for every senior.
The team has also relied on skill in addition to teamwork to take them places. With the arrival of players like Vincent Russo 13’, Mason Krueger ’13, John Ahern ‘12, and new comers like Sam (VRM) Levin 14’ and Jackson Tucker ’14 have really propelled the team to new heights. Armand Uomoleale 13’ also known as “Mondo” and the creator of “The Most Unreal Beats” came back for his third year at Avon in stellar form. With improved skill, strength, and a new mindset, he has become one of the team’s leaders in points. One of his highlight moments so far in the season was scoring a phenomenal hat trick vs. Loomis Chaffee. Another standout has been the always-consistent Dylan Shamburger. As the warden of the school he is a mild- mannered Avonian who carries himself cordially throughout the day; however, as soon as game-day comes around he is a point scoring machine. Having a point in almost every game this year, he has contributed to the team’s success drastically.
As the New England Hockey Tournament approaches, Avon’s fate lies within the next couple of games. Surely the whole school will be watching the team’s progress closely. With the legendary leadership of Coach Gardner and this year’s seniors along with the sheer determination and motivation the underclassmen have the team is one of the favorites to win the championship. If this were to happen, it would be an unprecedented ninth championship.

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