Austin High School strong in hockey

February 9, 2008 1:01:48 PM PST
It's 75 degrees. It's the middle of winter. Ice pretty scarce here in the Houston area. But high school hockey talent in the area has never been hotter.They're fast, they're slick, and they can handle the puck. You would be surprised at the amount of talent the Houston area can put on ice.

"The top two lines all play travel hockey. So they're playing, you know, 50 or 60 games a year of travel hockey plus their high school season. So they're on the ice 6-7 days a week," said Austin High School head coach Dennis Sims.

The Interscholastic Hockey League 15 teams strong this season and growing. The Austin Bulldogs are leading the league at the moment with 12 wins, a loss and two ties. And while most of these players grew up surrounded by football, basketball, and baseball, lacing up the skates has brought out their real talent.

"We've got a lot of good skaters and we also work as a team very good," said Austin forward Kevin Engelking.

"We've been playing together for many years, so we know each other very well," defenseman John Deao said.

"I've played (hockey) since as soon I could stand. I started with roller hockey, then moved to Texas from Louisiana," said defenseman Brady Stafford.

"I got some kids who could be football players," Sims said.

Unlike varsity football, if you're good on skates and you're a girl, you can play high school hockey like Austin's Kristen Flanagan.

"I've been playing hockey for forever," she said.

Her teammates say they take it easy on her. Stafford, however, once broke her collar bone.

"I'm very sorry," he said.

"It's cool. Don't worry about it," she replied.

Despite her injury, Kristin loves hockey. She gives us the perfect description of her team.

"It's filled with a bunch of stinky boys," she said.

Yes, it is hard to keep the uniforms clean.

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