Photo by Diane Cox
When it comes to scoring, Civic Memorial High junior Konnar Loewen knows how important it is to take advantage of all that the game offers.
“With me, it’s all about playing as a team and getting the puck to the net,” Loewen said. “A lot of my goals this year were rebounds from the defense taking shots and just crashing the net and putting the puck in.”
Loewen, who plays forward with the Bethalto Eagles club hockey team, finished the season with 30 goals and 18 assists. He was named to the Mississippi Valley Club Hockey Association all-star team. Now his exploits have landed him 2016 AdVantage News Hockey Player of the Year honors.
“I’ve been told I have great hands,” Loewen said of his rebound goals. “But a lot of it is being in the right place at the right time.”
Loewen said he feeds off fellow forwards Anthony Russo and Joseph Watson as well as defenseman Jayden Kahl.
“Anthony Russo really knows the game,” Loewen said. “He really plays his position well as well as Jayden Kahl; he moves the puck well. He has a lot of shots on goal and Bubba (Joseph) Watson, he and I really work well together.”
The Eagles compiled a winning record this year, as they went 14-11. Bethalto also managed a successful postseason in advancing to the championship round of the MVCHA Class 1A playoffs. However, the Eagles lost 2-0 to Collinsville.
“It was really cool; when I was an underclassman it was big for the upperclassmen to get there,” he said of the postseason. “Now that I’m an upperclassman, getting to the championship felt good. It’s about keeping the program going.”
Loewen started playing ice hockey at the age of 6 with Twin Bridges Lighting Hockey after a stint playing roller hockey. He started his career with the Eagles in the eighth grade, as MVCHA players can start with a team in their junior high school years.
“My uncle played ice hockey and he got me into it,” he said. “It’s fun, a very fast-paced game. It’s always been a lot of fun.”
An early bloomer, Loewen started playing varsity hockey as a freshman.
“It was a faster-paced game in switching from junior varsity to varsity,” Loewen said. “People played the body a lot more. It’s just a faster-paced game with bigger kids. You can’t hang onto the puck a long time, you have to get rid of it.”
Naturally, the forward has big goals for his final year of hockey.
“Winning the championship, getting your banner on the rink,” he said. “It’s been my goal since my freshman year, to be a part of a group of guys who wins a championship.”
Not a one-sport athlete, Loewen plays catcher on the Civic Memorial Eagles baseball team.
“In playing two sports, you know you’re always doing something,” he said. “In the winter you play hockey and then you go into baseball. You always have something to do. Being a part of a team is fun.”