By Dan Hardenbrook

The change in seasons was quick for several Newberry boys, who traded their cleats for skates and already hit the ice. After last week’s season ending playoff loss in football, many Newberry players turned right around and participated in tryouts for the 2023-2024 varsity hockey team. The co-op Manistique Emeralds hockey team is based in Manistique and includes players from Newberry and Munising. The co-op hockey team enters its third season this winter.

Senior forwards Cameron Skeans and Gavin Nutkins will lead a returning group of players that also includes junior defenseman Matthew Rahilly. Those three have been major contributors in both previous seasons of high school hockey.

Joining Rahilly among the juniors is Jack Heinonen, who is moving up from the junior varsity this season. Sophomores Levi Maki and Jonas Cornell also suited up for the JV program last year, and will fill in on game days when needed.

Rounding out the Newberry representatives will be freshmen Kade Schroeder and Levi Vruggink. Newberry’s John Nutkins returns for his third season as head coach and Ben Rahilly will be among the assistants.

Due to lower overall numbers and a high amount of younger players making the varsity squad or electing to stay down at the 14U level, there will be no JV high school team this season.

The Emeralds have already begun formal practices. They jump into action this coming Saturday in a multi-team scrimmage at the Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City, which is the training camp home of the Detroit Red Wings. The Emeralds will go head-to-head with Traverse City West, Bay Area Reps, Saginaw Heritage, and Tawas.

The regular season starts Saturday November 18, when the Emeralds host Alpena at the Little Bear West Arena in Manistique. Live video broadcasts of all varsity hockey games will be available from our partners at M-123FM on Facebook or on their website,