HAMILTON, N.Y. (WKTV) - Success on the ice hasn't come easy for the Hamilton Emerald Knights, mainly because their roster is comprised of players from nine different school districts.
"A lot of the kids have played youth hockey together over in Morrisville," says junior right winger Alex Brink, whose 36 goals and 46 points lead all of Section III. "We have a certain bond, because a lot of us are the same age, so we've played with each other for awhile."
Brink lives in Hamilton, so he doesn't have to travel, but teammates like junior goalie Brady Carroll, who's from Waterville, have a much tougher commute. "My mom lives in Clinton, so I got to wake up an extra half and hour on to that,so waking up at 5 in the morning, going to practice, sweating, working hard and then going to school all day."
This year Hamilton has finally found the right mix, cooked up by their coaching staff, head coach Murray Decock and assistant Barclay Potter.
"We get the guys, if not to like each other, at least to respect each other's different way of playing and relating to the team," says Decock. "It's probably the most fun I've had coaching out of my 12 years of coaching high school here."
"Every game we just keep getting better and better," adds senior center Alex Foster. "Everyone is starting to click, every game we start to get to know each other better."
One of the perks the Emerald Knights have is playing at Colgate's Starr Rink. It's an NCAA Division I barn, so it's a fun atmosphere.
"It's crazy, I used to watch my older brothers play here all the time," says Carroll. "I never thought I'd be in there and now that I am, it's unreal."
"We try and play it just like any other rink, because it can kind of give you the nerves if you let it get to you," adds senior defenseman Kinnon Nolan-Finkel.
The Emerald Knights are heading for postseason play, but they're hoping for more than just an appearance. They want to show just how far they've come.
"We're trying to get home ice advantage right now in division one," says Decock. "Two years ago this team was last place in Division II East."
"We're not any of the Hamilton teams we used to be," adds Nolan-Finkel. "We're a force to be reckoned with."
After Tuesday's loss to RFA, the Emerald Knights are 10-5-1 and have four games left in their regular season.