Balancing on Thin Ice

MN’s hockey club members find time for work and play


A black puck of rubber flies across the rink, with players on skates not far behind. This sport, known for its high-speed action and its fight-prone players, takes place not only on the ice but in conference rooms and in MN’s study halls as well.

Despite its reputation, hockey is a sport that requires a lot of time management skills and that needs to be well planned out. Team captain Jacob Hyder, along with multiple alternate captains, takes on the role of leading the team and planning for the games ahead.

“Being directly involved in playmaking, game planning, and making sure that everyone on the team was working well together [is] much more hands-on than regular involvement,” Hyder said. “Actions speak louder than words, so I’ve pushed myself as a captain of this team to perform, and it’s worked well.”

As team captain, Hyder holds a large responsibility to his peers, and this responsibility can be daunting in a school environment. 

“I am very focused on my academics, and my future is very important to me,” Hyder said. “The balance I have right now is good for me because I still get to play as much as I like, and I still get to do all the other academic things I want.”

Like Hyder, alternate captain Dakota Crider finds that school and her sport often clash, but that she can be there for her team when the need arises. 

“Usually, I start studying before practice. When I get to the point where I think I’m ready, I go to practice,” Crider said.. “[Hockey] is a team game, and captains have to be there for their teammates.”

Despite the difficulties faced when planning around school, Hyder and Crider, along with their coach, Tom Leary, who owns his own contracting business, find time to plan for the games ahead. 

“Working with different players with different skill levels presents a challenge that requires rethinking the game and helping all players enjoy the sport and get better,” said Leary. “It requires some early work starts and late work evenings.” 

Leary works with hockey players from Millard North and also works on various projects and building maintenance at his own company. In his time, he has seen his fair share of difficulties, both as a coach and as a player himself.

“The progression of the game and refining of the rules over time has changed the way I coach the game as opposed to how I grew up playing,” Leary said.

Alongside Leary and Hyder, alternate captain Conor Michaud makes time and shows up for his teammates, being a part of both MN’s hockey and baseball teams.

“It’s a lot trying to mix [hockey, baseball, and school] in, but you just have to keep in touch and practice time management,” Michaud said. “Hockey is fast-paced and includes a lot of different body movements that definitely get me out of my comfort zone.” 

Although Hyder, Crider, Michaud, and even their coach Leary all have their difficulties when it comes to balancing the events in their lives, they all make time to be on the ice. 

“You get to go relax and have fun with some of the guys and girls on the team, and you can joke around and have a good time,” Michaud said. “There’s always a good amount of laughs and hockey is just a great time.”