Troy Glendening was excited when he won a spot on the Granite City Warriors hockey team this winter.
“Going out there and playing with them is really a good time,” the Granite City senior said. “You can relax and have fun. This is a good team. This is a bunch of guys that know what they’re doing.”
But Glendening is disappointed that his first season with the Granite City hockey team is his last.
“That’s the only bad thing about it,” Glendening said. “The team is so well-bonded. Out of all of the sports that I played, this is the closest I’ve been with my teammates. I just wished I would have played sooner.”
Glendening is one of five seniors on the Granite City hockey team. The others are Darian Glenn, Jake Frievogel, Austin Loyd and Brandon Merz.
“The senior class is awesome,” Glendening said. “Jake is probably the best hitter on the team. Darian is a smart hockey player. He knows what he’s doing out there. They’re good people on and off the ice. It’s just a good senior class.”
On Dec. 29, the Warriors celebrated senior night with a 4-1 loss to Belleville at the Granite City Ice Rink. All five Granite City seniors — and the seniors from the Belleville team — were recognized before the game.
“It was a really nice night, especially for my parents,” Glendening said. “My mom (Michele) has been looking forward to me having a senior night.”
Glenn and Frievogel played with the Warriors’ hockey team all four years. Merz joined the team when he was a sophomore and Loyd started playing when he was a junior.
“I’m going to miss them a lot,” Granite City coach Frank Parker said. “Darian Glenn was definitely our main leader on the team. He brings good presence on the bench. Jake, Troy, Austin and Brandon are newer hockey players to us. They haven’t played hockey as long as the rest of these other kids have, but they always give a solid effort on the ice and they prepare every night for the game.”
Before he got interested in hockey last spring, Glendening played baseball and football and competed in bowling. When he was in fourth grade, he was an honorary bat boy at a St. Louis Cardinals game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Glendening had never picked up a hockey stick until May. He said his girlfriend’s family got him interested in hockey.
“Her brothers played hockey,” Glendening said. “They’re a huge hockey family. They got me into hockey in the first place.”
Suddenly, hockey became one of Glendening’s favorite sports.
“It’s awesome,” the Granite City senior said. “I definitely wished I would have played sooner because I caught on so quick. I did the summer camps with Frank and caught on really quick. I got my skating down over the summer with a friend of mine, Phillip Griffey. He definitely helped elevate my game to the next level.”
Glendening, who plays forward, has two goals and two assists. He scored his first goal against Columbia on Dec. 1.
“It was definitely the highlight of my season,” Glendening said.
Glendening said helping his team beat East Alton-Wood River for its first win of the season on Nov. 9 was another big highlight for him.
“It was really a big moment,” Glendening said. “We definitely came together as a team.”
Glendening, who plans to be a TV broadcaster in the future, said he found out that hockey is not an easy sport to play.
“It was definitely tough,” he said. “It’s the toughest sport out there to definitely get a hang of. But it’s definitely been worth the ride.”
The Warriors were scheduled to play Bethalto on Monday and EA-WR on Tuesday in MVCHA Class 1A pool play. Granite City took a 3-16 mark into Monday’s game with Bethalto.
Seeds will be determined for the 1A playoffs after pool play concludes this week. The Warriors are joined by EA-WR, Bethalto, Alton, Highland and Collinsville in Class 1A action.