Mercer Island Welcomes First Hockey Team


Photo Courtesy Eric Gorski

Honor Warburg, Managing Editor

Mercer Island offers a plethora of scholastic and club sports. But until recently, one major piece was missing— ice hockey. 

Since 2008, the Western Washington High School Hockey league has served players from the Seattle-Puget Sound area. Teams from across the Sound area compete for the yearly championship title. 

This league formerly consisted of eight teams: Bothell, Edmonds, Everett, Garfield, Lake Washington, Marysville-Pilchuck, Tahoma and Skyline. But this year, there is a new addition— Mercer Island, which enters the league as the ninth team. Formerly, hockey players who attend Mercer Island would join one of the other teams in the league. 

Alongside seniors Jarrett Sato, Colson Rimmer and Will Pellerin, junior goalie Eric Gorski is leading the charge for the new Mercer Island team. 

“As we have seen in the past with the Seattle Kraken, it has introduced hockey to a whole new level with the state of Washington,” Gorski said. “Imagine what the Mercer Island Ice Hockey team could do to introduce ice hockey to the high school.” 

The inaugural 2022 spring season is set for mid-April through June 18. Each team will play 12 regular season games and at least one playoff game.

Currently the new team only consists of three players and Gorski in goal, but the team hopes to be co-ed. 

In 2002, Washington state got its first major youth women’s hockey team in the Western Washington Female Hockey Association (WWFHA). Representation and opportunity for young female hockey players has continued to grow at the high school level, where the Western Highschool Hockey League, or WHHL, is popular amongst players. 

“Although there are a lot of opportunities for girls to participate this season in the WHHL, when the preseason starts in April we will be lucky to have just one girl on the [Mercer Island] team,” Gorski said. 

The new team will face many challenges this season, namely finding players, male or female, to fill the roster. 

“In order to have a full roster you need 19 players and one goalie, so we are going to have to pull players from Bellevue as well as the Renton area,” Gorski said. “This is a bit of an unknown variable for us. We don’t really know who we are getting but we do know that they are most likely good players.” 

Steven Pellerin, a current coach with USA Hockey will lead the team through these challenges as well as those currently unforeseen. 

“The challenge is getting our team to work together and cooperate with such a short timeline together in this season,” Gorski said. This includes team chemistry as well as how well we play together as a full unit.” 

The new team is ready to take the ice and have a successful season. 

“Get a feel for skating on ice and then if you like it you can pursue skating lessons and then slowly move on to play ice hockey,” Gorski encourages. “Hockey is for everyone. Even people with no experience can probably make the league through tryouts if they put the work in.”