Skating a family affair
December 15, 2022
For Sophomore Cole Winkler, hockey has always been in his blood. With hopes of following in his fathers footsteps by playing at Michigan State, Winker plays for both the Wando team, and a Junior national team.
With his second season on the Wando team underway, Winkler sets both goals for himself and the team.
“[My goal] is to just help my team as much as possible,” Winkler said. “There’s this team…[in ] Greenville and right now they are undefeated for like the last five years and we lost to them recently but our goal is to just beat them this year, it’s the only team we struggle with.”
Regularly playing both left and right wing, Winkler is in position to make big plays on the ice.
“The centermen is the person who takes all the faceoffs and is just on the puck at all times. The left wing is on the left side and they basically stay on that left side for most of the game and score from the left side and the right wing scores from the right side,” Winkler said.
However, along with playing for Wando’s hockey team, Winkler was also selected to play for a junior national team up in Maine.
“If you end up in a tournament with the previous team you played on, and they like how you played, then you get selected to go into a tryout and then if you make it past that tryout then you’re on the team,” Winkler said.
With teammates coming from all over the coast, practicing as a team can be difficult. As a neutral meeting spot, teammates travel to Greenville, South Carolina for practices on the weekend.
“The season usually starts in August and ends around summertime so it’s an all year thing,” Wrinkler said. “Every single weekend we have a practice if there’s not a tournament.”
Fellow Wando teammate Robbie Wattie has been playing hockey with Winkler for the past six years through the Wando team and club teams. Being friends on and off the ice, Wattie and Winkler play positions that work with one another.
“I play defense and he plays offense so when we are in the offensive zone he’ll pass the puck to me at the point and then I’ll shoot it and then he can tip it into the goal,” Wattie said.
While skating with Winkler for years, Wattie has seen his strong work ethic throughout the years.
“At practice he’s always skating as hard as he can and when we do conditioning and things like that, he’s always giving it his all,” Wattie said.
With the Wando hockey season underway, Wattie hopes that the team can secure a state title and move up to nationals. However, with the game of hockey, anything can happen.
“Just have fun with it,” Wattie said. “Don’t get caught up in everything. If you keep loving it then you [are] going to keep playing it and you’ll get better at it.”