HOULTON, Me. (WAGM) - The Houlton Hodgdon Blackhawks graduated a bunch of seniors and is very young. Despite the mass exodus of seniors, they've developed a strong bond with each other.
"We're a really really tight knit group," senior captain Alex Wilde said. "we all enjoy each other's company in the locker room and on the ice so that team chemistry is really what we got this year."
Head Coach Tony Marino says that's all by design.
"That's the big thing, we're a team, we're a family and that's really the message we've tried to put through," Marino said. "That message has really resonated with everybody so it's a really tight knit group. Plus it's a lot like Presque Isle, these kids have played together for most of their lives so they know each other really well."
A tight knit group and a young group. Wilde is the lone senior and he knows that being an upperclassmen comes with added responsibility.
"Last year we had a lot of experience," Wilde said. "This year we have just the one senior and a couple juniors so we really need to count on those guys to step up and be leaders this year."
His assistant captain, Jason Collett said they should still be primed for a playoff run.
"We gotta a lot of new guys here," Collett said. "But we still got a lot of returning talent we should still be pretty good this year, looking to make the playoffs."
Not only are they young, but due to low numbers, the Blackhawks convinced a couple of football players to give a hockey a try.
"It's definitely new, you kinda gotta teach from scratch all the fundamentals," Wilde said. "But they're doing well, they're getting there. We've got a small bench, so we gotta roll them sometimes, they're doing alright, they gotta work on positioning but they're doing OK."