Team synergy leads Coppell hockey to another state championship


Photo courtesy David Heeps

The Coppell hockey team celebrates after defeating Northwest, 6-4, winning the Texas Amatuer Hockey Association (TAHA) Division 2A state championship on Jan. 29 at Children’s Health StarCenter in Mansfield. The Cowboys end its season ranking seventh in the AT&T Metroplex High School Hockey League varsity silver level.

Sahasra Chakilam, Staff Photographer

The motto, “Cowboy fight never dies!,” has been followed by the Coppell hockey team since its formation in 1997, and 26 years later, it still remains true to its word.

On Jan. 29 at Children’s Health StarCenter in Mansfield, Coppell beat Northwest, 6-4, capturing the Texas Amatuer Hockey Association (TAHA) Division 2A state championship title. 

“The second game of the tournament against San Antonio turned everything around and showed us that getting to state could really happen,” Coppell coach David Heeps said. “We got down early, within the first minute of the game, and we fought back, playing the game that we have been trying to play all year. We finished the game as a team.”

Leading up to the championship, the Cowboys struggled maintaining concentration within games.

“There were a couple of games prior to the state tournament that it started looking like things were piecing together, but there were still one or two things that we were missing,” Heeps said. “All four lines were missing. Some players weren’t putting in their full effort when they needed to and made mistakes that they shouldn’t have been making.”

The Cowboys entered a new atmosphere of coaching this season as it is Heeps’ first year with the team. Heeps has been coaching for nine years and serves as the head coach for men’s hockey at University of North Texas. 

“It is always difficult for players to get a new coaching staff or guys they are unfamiliar with,” Heeps said. “Learning a new system in a short period of time can be hard, especially after the success the team has had in previous years.”

From November to early December, the Cowboys suffered four consecutive losses against Plano West, Prosper, Southlake and Allen, amounting to a division record of 4-8-1 amongst the varsity silver level in AT&T Metroplex High School Hockey League.

“The atmosphere in the room between the guys and communication wasn’t there,” Heeps said. “No one seemed to be enjoying their time. I think winter break came at the right time and we needed it. Coming back from the break, everyone was refreshed and started off on the right foot. We were able to get a couple of good wins under our belt, and with the state tournament right around the corner at the time, it boosted us.”

The Cowboys responded with four consecutive wins December to January against Denton, Highland Park, Mansfield and Northwest, to climb back to .500.

“What made the kids realize the need for change was when we played Mansfield,” Heeps said. “We played the game and did what we needed to do to win. That showed them that if they played what the coach and staff had intended them to play, the outcomes would be in their favor.”

Notable contributions throughout the season were made by Coppell senior forwards Adam Hadi, Liam Krauss and Cain Frosk and senior defenders Julian Peng and Dylan Luu.

“Hadi and Krauss were leaders on and off the ice,” Heeps said. “Frosk has been a dynamic player all throughout, as well as Peng and Luu. All of them have been contributors to the success of the team this year. With their style of playing and the seniority they bring to the team by leading by example and being the voice in the room, have been big contributors to how they stood out this year.”

The team ended its season, ranking seventh in the division with its 10 game record being 5-4-1. 

Coppell worked its way up after a rough start to the season, showing that the team’s spirit truly never dies.

“The team started to have more enjoyment with the game and having fun with each other,” Heeps said. “The systems that we run are a bit complex and how they were able to learn them and understand them over time is incredible.”

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