Prep hockey

High school hockey players unite to form winning team

swilson@thestate.comMay 3, 2014 

Running a hockey team is not easy, but the Lexington Fusion make it seem simple.

“We were determined,” said coach Stephen Brochu of Irmo.

That determination has paid off, with the Fusion winning its first state championship in the South Carolina Scholastic Hockey Association in 12 seasons. They defeated Bishop England to secure the title.

The Fusion was started as an option to have a team in the area because no school in Lexington-Richland District 5 had enough players to form separate teams. The minimum number for the roster is 10 players.

Fusion have 20 players.

The team offers a spot to anyone who attends public or private schools within district boundaries. It also welcomes students who are home-schooled. Players can join the team during their freshman year.

Fusion practices and plays its games at The Plex in Irmo. They pay to practice at the venue, and they split game costs with the opposing team.

“It ends up costing about $900 per player,” said Sherri Brochu, who is the team manager. She says that fees come to around $700, while equipment for each player costs around $200.

For the players, the cost is definitely worth what they get out of the game.

“We’re the first team in the district to do this,” Ethan Pinto said.

“Getting the trophy was pretty awesome. We’ve never done that before,” said Ben Altemus of Columbia.

After winning the state title, the team competed in the USA Hockey National Championships in Omaha in late March.

“Getting to go compete in nationals was really cool,” Joseph Brochu said.

The team lost its first three games in the nationals against Tri-City Neb., Brookings High of South Dakota, and Viewmont High of Utah.

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