The Nordonia High School ice hockey team is a mix of young and old this season.
Well, perhaps "more experienced" would be a better descriptor than "old." After all, we are talking about teenagers.
The Knights welcome back seven players from last year's squad. Four of those players are seniors, and the other three are sophomores.
There are no juniors on Nordonia's varsity roster for the 2012-13 campaign, underscoring the gap that exists between youth and experience.
"We also have six freshmen joining us this year, so we're going to be young for a while," said Nordonia head coach Joe Kramp.
Kramp's four returning seniors are defender Luke Mayer (5-11, 165), center Ryan Schron (5-11, 160), forward Matt Kobus (5-11, 160) and defender Brandon Ciresi (5-7, 135).
The three returning players who are sophomores include center Dominic Cinalli (5-11, 175), defender Joe Haluska (5-6, 150) and winger Dominic DeLollis (6-0, 150).
Nordonia lost five seniors to graduation. They were center Clay Sullivan, defenseman Mike Gabriel, defenseman Nate Gerry, defenseman Alex Post and goalie Jacob Clark.
According to Kramp, one of the Knights' strengths this season will be goaltending. The reason is freshman goalie Justin Post (5-6, 125).
"Justin's been playing very well," said Kramp. "He's kept us in a lot of games already. He's a young kid, and hopefully we can build the program around him during the next couple of years."
The other freshmen on the team are forwards Dylan Burgbacher (5-9, 150), Ryan Soltis (5-7, 145), Joseph Webb (5-6, 135), Devon Soltis (5-8, 155), Jeffrey Wisniewski (5-2, 85) and Nicholas Zajac (5-5, 115).
Kramp indicated that one of his top priorities is to get the younger players acclimated to their positions.
"Once they learn the positioning of the game, it will get a little easier," he said. "We're also going to play more defensively this year than in years past.
"Right now, though, the kids need to learn to put three periods of hockey together. They need to come ready to play every night."
Nordonia competes in the Blue Central East Division of the Greater Cleveland High School Hockey League.
"There are a couple of strong teams in the division this season," said Kramp. "It's going to give the kids something to work towards."
Kramp is in his 12th year as the head coach at Nordonia. His assistant coach this season is Rich Cinalli.