By Ross Forman – Chris Petri, a senior center in his third varsity season for the co-op Fox Valley Hawks, is one of only four returning players to the team that is a mix of five schools.
Petri, 17, who lives in St. Charles attends St. Charles East High School and is undecided on college plans for next fall, plays alongside teammates from St. Charles North, Geneva, Batavia and Kaneland high schools.
“Our team camaraderie (last season) was something special and I feel not a lot teams have that when combining 5 different schools to make one team,” said Petri, who shoots left-handed and wears uniform No. 63.
“My goal for this season is just to be the guy on team that everyone can turn to, on and off the ice”
Petri, who played his youth hockey for the Cyclones, is a dynamic forward with an offensive and defensive play set. He knows leadership is a must for him this season, too.
“The four returning varsity players need to step up and realize it’s our time to lead the team,” he said. “I have learned a lot just by playing with coach Phil Gabrielsen. Coach Phil really has a big impact on every player, and it shows on the ice.
“I don’t feel pressure; I just kind of feel sad that this is my last year playing hockey for the Hawks.”
Petri credited his dad too for being an influence on his career. “He is always there after the game to critique me when I did bad and support me when I did good,” he said.
Fox Valley went 15-6-3 in the 9-team Gold League of the IHSHL North-Central Division last season, finishing tied for second with New Trier Gray, 1 point behind Leyden.
Petri led the team with 14 goals in league play and 3 assists. He also had 3 game-winning goals.
Back in the 2013-14 season, Petri scored the game-winning goal during the NIHL Championship Game late in the third period and earned the MVP award for the season.
“I feel like I can bring a positive atmosphere to the locker room and bench,” Petri said. “I feel like the most important thing as a leader is making others around you better and that’s what I’m trying to do this season.
“I am excited coming into the season. We have a lot of players who can make a big difference on the ice and in the locker room.”
Said Coach Gabrielsen: “Chris brings leadership and experience to the new players. He plays center but works hard on the defensive end of the ice. Chris will be a big part of our success.”
Slapshots with … Fox Valley center Chris Petri
Favorite NHL Team: Chicago Blackhawks
Favorite NHL Player: Patrick Kane
Favorite Sports-Themed Movie: Miracle on ice
Favorite Pre-Game Meal: Chicken Alfredo
Celebrity You’d Like To Meet: Paul Bissonnette
Best Hockey Tip: “You don’t pass to where the player is; you pass to where the player is going to be.” – Wayne Gretzky
Teammate Who You Could See As A Hockey Coach: Joe Widick
Hardest Slapshot: Will Kanzler
Most Accurate Shot: Owen Anderson
Fastest Skater: Jason DiTusa
Best High School Uniform (other than Fox Valley Hawks): New Trier
Ross Forman has written about Illinois high school hockey for more than 15 years and is the only sportswriter to have covered Illinois High School hockey every year during that stretch. He played locally and then at Indiana University before becoming a referee. Ross was a referee for the State Championship game several years ago at the United Center. Contact Ross by email at Rossco814@aol.com.