Blended JV hockey team combines on championship


The Rockville Centre/East Rockaway/Hewlett junior varsity ice hockey team claimed the Nassau Country championship in March, just two years after joining forces as a team.

“They just had a lot of success coming together,” Lauren Sobel of Hewlett, said, the team’s general manager and mother to Nathan Sobel, of Hewlett, a freshman forward on the team.

The team’s first season together was 2022 to 2023, where they only secured two wins. The three communities created one team following the collapse of the Lynbrook/Hewlett-Woodmere/East Rockaway team.

Starting off this season in late November the players took to the ice earning 10 wins, five losses and three ties throughout their season in the High School Hockey League of Nassau County. Playoffs began at the end of February.

Throughout the year, many of the team members play on other travel hockey leagues.

“As a team it’s always hard, it starts in October, a lot of the players are on travel,” Lauren said. “Once were in January or February, the travel schedule lightens up a bit, and we have all our players and we’re playing like a team.”

As of January the team was on a winning streak.

“We did not lose a game in 2024,” Lauren said.

Come playoffs, the Rockville Centre/East Rockaway/Hewlett team defeated Oceanside on March 8, Great Neck on March 10 in the semifinals, and captured the championship on March 12, when they were up against nearly undefeated Plainview-Old Bethpage.

“It was amazing as a parent, it’s like watching your own kid and all his friends really working together to make it happen and take down a goliath, that no one thought we had a chance of beating,” Lauren said.

Matthew Prezioso of Rockville Centre, a ninth grade goalie on the team was in his 10th year of playing hockey when the team secured the victory.

“We weren’t even expected to make he playoffs,” Prezioso said of the team’s projected success in the beginning of the season.

Nathan, who has been playing in the league for two years and hockey for eight, felt that the win was a comeback.

“It felt prey amazing, especially from last year, we didn’t have the greatest record,” Nathan said, referring to the 2022-2023 season 2-15 record.

Tim McManus of Rockville Centre, the team’s coach has been involved with the county hockey program since 2018. This was his first year in the JV position. At the start of the season, he was skeptical of how far the team could go.

“I knew we had talent but I wasn’t sure if the team would be able to gel over a short time period,” McManus wrote in an email. “Late in the season I knew we had a shot to make the playoffs but we had to win our last five games. And we did!”

McManus pushed his players to bring their “A Game” in every game, carrying them through the championship.

“I felt that our kids played with a lot of heart and determination,” McManus said. “I knew that if we concentrated on playing good, team defense and moving the puck, that we could beat anyone.”