After the 2009 season, the North Central Panthers Hockey Club was disbanded and all of the players were re-assigned to the newly established Zionsville Arctic Eagles Hockey Club. High school hockey in Indiana is not sanctioned by IHSAA, so the clubs were and are not directly sponsored by either North Central or Zionsville.
In 2014, the Arctic Eagles won a 3A State Championship and in 2015 they won their league tournament. Since 2015, the Eagles have played in the highest class in the state tournament every year, finishing within the top 10 teams in Indiana.
Although the team is called Zionsville, seven players on the current team attend North Central – four seniors, two juniors, and one sophomore.
Jacob Guptill and Isaac Tromiczak are new to the Zionsville Hockey Club this season. Both players are seniors at North Central; Tromiczak plays forward and Guptill plays defense.
Guptill is mainly excited for the future and potential success of the team.
“We are going to have a winning regular season and then win state,” Guptill said.
Tromiczak agrees with Guptill and also feels like he was accepted on the team as a first year player.
“They really welcomed me to the team so we are basically family,” Tromiczak said.
Isaac is not the only Tromiczak that has played for Zionsville. His older brother Jeremy played for the team until he graduated from NC in 2016. Junior Tanner Tromiczak, youngest of the three, plays defense for the eagles. Tanner has big shoes to fill.
“I kind of feel pressured to play well, but I just want to be better than my brothers. We all work hard and get the job done,” Tanner Tromiczak said.
Both of the goalies on the team are also from North Central; sophomore Thomas O’Brien, and junior Nathan Chinni.
Another NC player on the Eagle’s roster is senior Patrick Waterman. Last season Waterman finished third on the team in points.
Each hockey team has a captain and alternate captains. The captains lead the team on and off the ice and are allowed to talk to the referees if they have questions.
Robbie Donovan is a senior at Zionsville Community High school and the head captain of Zionsville Hockey Club.
“It is an honor to be the captain and I don’t take the responsibilities of being captain lightly,” Donovan said.
Senior Alek Shahbaz has played on Zionsville Hockey Club since his freshman year. Shahbaz is an alternate captain for the eagles. He had 74 points last season, second behind captain Robbie Donovan.
The panthers make up a vast majority of playing time on the team. Duncan McCourt, a junior from Zionsville, is an alternate captain. He feels that the NC players make a huge impact on the team.
“It would be different without the kids from NC because we would not have enough players and our team would be less competitive in our league,” McCourt said.
After the team’s first weekend of games on Sep. 28 – 30, the team won all four of their games including the championship game to win the Fall Foliage Classic in Columbus, Ind.
In the championship game, the Eagles beat the Central Indiana Knights (5-4 OT), who were second in the state last season.