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Northwest Hockey Club Heads into the Playoffs After Completing First Season

The Northwest High School Hockey Club had one goal this season — become a team. In both the metaphorical and literal sense of the word.

The club, which is just that — a club — at Northwest because hockey is not an officially sanctioned sport by Montgomery County Public Schools. The Northwest Hockey Club is finishing up its first season as a standalone Northwest only team before the playoffs start this Friday.

So, the Jags Hockey club had to become a team, and the club had to learn how to play together. It has been a journey for the Jaguars who had played on a combined team with players from Quince Orchard last year. This year both schools had enough players to each form their own teams/clubs.

“When I took over as coach this season I told these guys that the object of this season was to become a team,” said Northwest Hockey Club Head Coach Ed Hughes. “And they have, it is the loosest locker room I have ever seen. Nobody gets mad at each other. They play for each other and encourage each other. Everybody picks up for everybody. Even when we let a goal in, everybody is there to pick each other up and try to step up their game.”

The Jags play in the Maryland Student Hockey League in the Montgomery 2 Division. With teams from Sherwood, a Rockville/Magruder, Quince Orchard, a Blake/Poolesville combined team, Wilson, and a team made up of players from the District of Columbia schools known as DC Stars.

The other division, Montgomery 1, features teams from Wootton, Walter Johnson, Blair, B-CC, Whitman, Richard Montgomery, and two different teams from Churchill.

The Jags are second from last in the division and will face the second-best team in the first round of the playoffs, the 9-5 DC Stars on Friday night. The Jags have played DC twice this season and have been on the losing end both times.

“The target for this season was to become a team, and then we’ll see what we can do in the playoffs,” said Hughes, who is a volunteer coach whose son played on the team in the past but has since graduated. “There hasn’t been a team that we’ve played this season that we haven’t scored against. We just need to play better defense.”