Belvidere families get Belvidere Hockey up and running

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Photo provided by Patrick McGowan

The new logo of the Belvidere hockey club

Kayla Vittore, Reporter

    There are a lot of sports in Belvidere schools, from football to soccer, there has been a wide variety of teams bearing the Belvidere North name at competitions.  However, there has never been a hockey team or club for the skating students of the Belvidere area.  Mrs. Stacy McGowan and her son Patrick McGowan (‘19) are planning on changing that.

    The McGowans are currently trying to create a hockey club for players who go to Belvidere schools.  “Actually, [the team] was more Patrick’s idea than mine,” said Mrs. McGowan.  Working with another family of hockey fans, the Brawners, the McGowans began developing what would become Belvidere Hockey.  This involved a lot of paperwork, working with the community, and making an identity for the team.  “I developed the logo and name for the team, and helped with other things that come up,” said Patrick McGowan.

    For a long time, being a hockey player in Belvidere hasn’t been easy.  Belvidere doesn’t have its own school-based team, so finding a team to play with is very difficult.  Some Rockford teams used to be open to Belvidere students, but as time has passed those opportunities have gone away.  This leaves two options for players in Belvidere, either make a long commute to a far away team or quit entirely.  “I used to play hockey, but I ended up quitting.  It was too far to drive, and I wanted to focus more on school,” said Logan Bice (‘16),  “I think that a local hockey club would be a good idea for kids around here, it’s a great sport and provides a unique experience.”

    Bice isn’t the only one with a positive reaction to the McGowan’s team.  At the first informational meeting, about thirty players arrived to express their interest.  “We had a lot of kids from Belvidere and Belvidere North high schools, and even some players from North Boone High School and Sycamore High School,” said Patrick McGowan.  Other people from the community are also excited for the Belvidere Hockey Club.  Stacy McGowan said, “Belvidere business owners and community members are very excited.  They think this is a great opportunity for the entire town to come together and support a single team again.  I have already had inquiries about our jerseys – we have fans that want to purchase them to help defray our cost and to wear to our games.”

    Most of the details of the hockey club have been or are being decided.  Dr. Daniel Woestman has expressed his support of the team, and Belvidere Park District has agreed to be Belvidere Hockey’s home ice.  Some of the things that still need to be determined include practice schedules, hiring coaches, and the leadership of the club.  “Patrick, the Brawners, and I have been heading up the organization of the team.  Eventually there will be an elected board that will take over running the High School Hockey program, but until then, we are working to get the groundwork done,” said Mrs. McGowan.

    If you want some more information on Belvidere Hockey, it’s not too late to get involved.  Stacy McGowan encourages all interested persons to contact [email protected]  which will allow Belvidere Hockey to add you to their distribution list and keep you up to date on the team’s activity.  “If you have no experience, but are interested, email us!   If you already have a ton of experience, don’t count us out…we have a lot of experienced players wanting to play with us as well.  And anyone who’s interested in just helping out, please contact us,” said Stacy McGowan.

    Belvidere Hockey seems developing quickly with a lot of support behind it.  “My favorite part of hockey is becoming a family with the team, and just enjoying playing the sport,” said Patrick McGowan.  If you’re a Belvidere student who loves being on the ice, don’t miss out on joining this new hockey family.