The Durant hockey team began its journey only four years ago, making it one of the youngest leagues in the Lightning High School Hockey League (LHSHL). After building up the program, the team has slowly grown in both numbers and strength to become what it is today.
“We used to be a younger team,” senior at Durant and alternate captain Michael Romeo said. “But now that we are all seniors, we have a lot more dominance with our experience and size.”
Romeo is part of the original team that started four years ago. In building the team, he accredits a lot to the players that were with them in 2019.
“In building our program, we got lucky and had a really good core group of guys, especially two years ago with the class of 2019,” Romeo said.
The current team is led by senior captain Jordan Putnam from Strawberry Crest High School; however, there are over ten seniors on the team who have built up the group together.
Over the past few years, Durant has slowly made a name for itself in the LHSHL with three playoff appearances and one thirty-point season.
One notable duo on the team is goaltenders Ryan Putnam, a sophomore at Strawberry Crest High School, and Will Chablowski, a junior with Florida Virtual School. Together, they make one of the best goaltending tandems in the league.
Jordan Putnam also leads the team in scoring, with an average of over three points per contest, while seven other skaters average more than one point per game.
“It’s been a ton of fun playing with this group all year both on and off the ice. We have grown a crazy bond, one that I know I won’t soon forget,” Putnam said.
Looking back on this past season, Durant junior Dante Denny considers their first playoff game against Newsome as a defining moment for the team.
“We went into overtime and then a shootout,” Denny said. “We barely won, but it was definitely the most stressful game I have ever played.”
Following their 2-6 victory over Manatee High School in the playoffs this past week, the Durant team was awarded the Eastern Conference Champions title. They will now face Seminole High School in the finals to compete for the prized Lightning Cup.
Cheer on Durant at Amalie Arena this Wednesday, February 17th, at 7:00 PM EST for the Lightning Cup Finals against the Seminole Sharks.