Catching Up with Langley Varsity Hockey Team COACH, PATRICK KEOUGH

By Katie Culligan

Team Mantra:
“You must win every stride,
every puck battle, every shift.”

Patrick KeoughHEAD COACH

What are the team’s goals for the current/upcoming season?
The goal of every season is to make it into the playoffs, because, from there, anything is possible. The key is not to focus on winning the game, but on winning the 3v2 and 2v2 and 1v1 puck battles.

What is the team’s current overall record and previous season record?
We are currently 9-0-0 for the current season, making it 17-straight wins when you add the 8-straight wins we had to close-out last season. Langley wraps up 2022-23 regular season undefeated, 10-0-0.

How does this team compare to other great teams in the program or school’s history?
This year’s team is very focused. It is the first team that contains players who have spent their entire high school career with me as their coach – so there is accumulative benefit achieved regarding unity of purpose and cohesive execution that has been developing over the past four years.

Photos submitted
by Neal Krysinski

Who are the team’s captains or leaders? What makes them a vital part of the team’s success?
I expect every Langley player to be a leader, regardless of whether or not they have a “C” or an “A” on their jersey. Having said that, Kameron Khazai, Varsity Captain, is a very highly skilled player. He is a unifying force in our locker room and sets the example and the standard for his teammates. Chris Valko, Assistant Captain, is a defenseman, and he is the voice of composure and presence on our team. Noah Scheinerman, Assistant Captain, is what I call an “engineer”. He builds scoring opportunities for himself and his linemates. Stewart Rosenblatt, JV team Captain, is a quintessential study in resolute commitment. Every coach wants a player like Stewart on his bench because he inspires others to strive for higher achievement.

Has the team made any comeback victories this season?
Yes. Twice so far this year. We were down 3 – 0 to Briar Woods and came back to defeat them 5 – 4 with 4-seconds left on the clock. It was a very close game that could easily have gone the other way.

Does the team have any pre-game routines?
Players are required to arrive at the rink one hour in advance of puck-drop, dressed in collared dress shirt, tie, slacks, and something “that can pass for dress shoes”. They bring warm-up gear with them. The team captains take them outside to stretch and conduct warm-ups.
Then it’s time to get dressed – so, as you can imagine – they have music blaring out of a giant portable speaker. At least, they claim it’s music, but once the Zamboni comes on the ice before our game (usually 10-minutes prior to puck-drop), they are required to be ready for the ice

Does the team have a favorite pre-game or post-game meal?
Each player probably has his special routine. Players are encouraged to stay away from heavy meals and sugary drinks and to have the correct balance of carbs versus protein.

How does the team welcome new members?

New players are welcomed into the “program” when they first arrive. For most, this is during the spring of their 8th grade year when we invite all rising 9th graders to our annual end-of-season banquet in April. They are all seated together at the same table and at one point during the formal ceremony, we have them stand. Then, our departing seniors stand behind each rising 9th grader and, one by one, four of the seniors will each recite one of the four tenants of our creed. The new players are asked if they are ready to accept
responsibility for carrying on the traditions of the players standing behind them. They must all state, “I am”.

How does the team get hyped up for competition?
We don’t get “hyped up” for competition — we dial-in. We get focused. We get centered. We fuse into a cohesive unit. “Hype” doesn’t win games, teamwork does.

How does the team celebrate?
With each goal that is scored, the line that is on the ice will skate the length of our bench and fist-bump with everybody on the bench. When a goalie makes a clutch save, players will skate past him and tap his leg pads with their stick. Each game that ends in a win is
celebrated around our net with a giant group hug.

What has motivated the team to reach their goals
this season?

Earlier this year I asked the team to look around the locker room at their teammates and ask themselves “How will you be remembered by your teammates?” I think that most players took that question deeply inside of themselves and set as one of their personal goals to be a player who will be remembered for eternity by their teammates as a valued asset who left nothing unsaid, nothing undone, nothing

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