By Ross Forman – His hockey resume has already spilled over, beyond just a player.
Ryan Cappello works in the pro shop at the Arctic Ice Arena in Orland Park and he also helps coach an Arctic Jr. Fury bantam team.
Cappello, 17, who lives in Homer Glen, is a junior at Lockport Township High School, in his second varsity season skating for the co-op Spartans, a mix of players who also attend Lemont, Bolingbrook and Romeoville High Schools.
The Spartans play in the IHSHL North-Central Division, finishing 9-10-5 last season. They are coached by Colin McAuliffe and Doug Bosse is the club’s hockey director.
“The team continues to work on improving our skills during practice and our health on and off the ice,” Cappello said in late-December. “I am continuing to work hard, stay healthy, and become a better player overall … we want to win (the) state championship (by) my senior year.”
The Spartans grabbed 23 points in 24 Gold League games last season, which put them in 6th-place in the 9-team league. They lost 3-2 in double overtime last February in the team’s lone state tournament game.
“I enjoy playing with teammates from other schools, getting to know more about them,” said Cappello, who brings vocal support and dedication to the Spartans’ bench and locker room. “I try to be positive, to keep my team motivated and determined to win.”
Cappello, a right wing in uniform No. 19, played for the Spartans JV as a freshman. Also during the 2018-2019 season, they were the IHSHL Hayes-Suburban Champions (varsity).
“When I’m on the ice, I look for opportunities to make plays and score, and also play defensively,” said Cappello, who is considering Western Michigan University and tagged Jonathan Toews as a major influence on his career.
Cappello is driven by the fact that Toews “is a player who is always working hard on and off the ice to improve his game play.”
Slapshots with … Spartans RW Ryan Cappello
Favorite Hockey-playing Memory: “Winning the league championship my freshman year.”
Career Highlight: A 4-point game against Crown Point
Always Improving: “I feel my speed has improved (this season), along with my skill level and shots.”
Facts: “I enjoy learning and watching videos about cars.”
Off The Ice: Enjoys working out, running, and watching hockey videos
Little-Known Facts: “I enjoy fishing and cooking.”
Favorite NHL Team: Chicago Blackhawks
Favorite NHL Player: Patrick Kane
Favorite Sports-Themed Movie: Miracle
Favorite Pre-Game Meal: Chicken and pasta
Celebrity You’d Like To Meet: Jimmy Fallon
Best Hockey Tip: “Cover the guy you’re responsible for.” – Coach Colin
Teammate Who You Could See As A Hockey Coach: Daniel Grachan
Hardest Slapshot On Your Team: “Myself”
Most Accurate Shot: Mike Garcia
Fastest Skater: Jack Crowley
Best High School Uniforms (other than the Spartans): Loyola Academy
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.