The East Alton-Wood River-Roxana hockey team welcomes back varsity head coach John Helmkamp for the 2014-2015 Mississippi Valley Club Hockey Association season.
Helmkamp is back for a second round with EA-WR after coaching the team from 1998-2001, leading the team to back-to-back regular season championships and their first appearance in post-season play.
“He definitely knows his stuff,” Roxana senior Seth Chester said. “We know he has over 20 years of experience to bring back to us. He has already set the example that he wants things done right and done his way. He’s had success and he’s a good coach. We know if we follow his lead, we can have success as a team.”
Helmkamp’s most recent coaching experience took him to the peewee level with the Twin Bridges Lightning program in the Central States Development Hockey League. The Lightning finished the season ranked No. 2 in the country.
“I’m excited to be back with the Oilers,” Helmkamp said. “This team has a lot of talent and had a great playoff run last year. We are looking to be more consistent and better in the regular season. We hope to return to the finals in the playoffs to have a shot at bringing home the first league championship in Oiler history.”
The Oilers were the surprise underdog team in the 2013-2014 season when they led a charge and brought home the Class 1A MVCHA conference title. Seniors Alec Revelle and Seth Chester from Roxana and junior Cole Ford from EA-WR hope to set the pace for the Oiler hockey team now that the high school football season has come to a close. Revelle and Chester were required to sit out from competition in the season opener for the Oilers last week against Alton, where the Oilers suffered a 7-0 loss.
“This is certainly not a team of just one or two key players,” Helmkamp said. “But to work as a team, we need to have our strengths put together.”
The Oilers took an opportunity during preseason to get acquainted with one another with a trip to Springfield to hold a training camp of sorts.
“We headed to Springfield around mid-September just to get out of town for a while,” Helmkamp said. “It was an opportunity to clear our heads and speed up the process of building team relationships and allow them the chance to get to know me and my coaching style.”
The Oilers will face Collinsville at 7:15 p.m. Monday, Nov. 17, at the East Alton Ice Arena.
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