Both West Ranch and Valencia hockey have new head coaches. Both new coaches want to take their respective team to the next level.
For the Wildcats and new head coach Chris Greene, that means winning an LA Kings High School Hockey League championship.
The Cats were cut short of that goal last season, falling to Kern County in the semifinals.
“I’m going into it all in,” Greene said. “We’re all expecting a championship for this team. We have the players and the team to do it with our work effort, our skill.”
Greene was an assistant coach for West Ranch last season and previously worked with the Valencia Flyers, a Junior A team.
The Massena, New York, native’s playing experience includes over 10 years with professional minor league hockey teams across the country.
He moved to Santa Clarita four years ago with hopes of starting a successful coaching career.
“I kind of just threw my hockey resume out there to some California teams … and I actually landed out here in Valencia with a junior team,” Greene said. “So I kind of hung my skates up from there and took a step forward toward the coaching world.”
Vikings head coach Eric Stelnick’s hockey career is starting to come full circle.
A Valencia native who played for the Vikings in high school, Stelnick left Southern California and went to Boston in 2009 to further his playing career. He played for a few programs, including Stony Brook University and San Diego State University, before returning home.
When he came back to Valencia, he saw his former high school team in a different light.
“I noticed that they needed more experienced hockey players that have coaching ability to coach kids at the high school level,” Stelnick said. “To (help them) proceed to the next level of their future.”
The Vikings, who finished at the bottom of the league last season, are ripe for Stelnick’s shaping.
“Every game and every practice they’re going to learn something new,” he said. “And then they’re going to learn how to win games, they’re going to learn to get to the next level.”
Tryouts for Valencia will be at Ice Station Valencia on Saturday from 3:30-4:30 p.m. and Sunday from 9:45-10:45 a.m. West Ranch will host a pre-tryout clinic at Ice Station Valencia on Saturday at 7:45 p.m.
For more information, visit valenciahockey.com and westranchockey.com.