First-year Chippewa Valley hockey coach Zach MacIntosh is hoping the Big Reds can accomplish something that has never been done in the history of the program — win a league title.
Chippewa went 4-5 in the Macomb Area Conference White Division last season, finishing in third place. The Big Reds have been moved to the MAC Blue, and MacIntosh is aiming for bigger and better things in a new division.
“It was one of the things we decided on early on,” MacIntosh said of winning a MAC Blue title. “That is something we expect to win, and we would be kind of disappointed if we don’t. Number one, take care of our division. The other (goal) is just to compete with teams, and then you never know what happens in the playoffs. Put together a good run by the end of the year when we’re all flowing as a team — see if we can make a run.”
MacIntosh’s long-term ambition is to rebuild the hockey program. MacIntosh, along with assistant coaches Brett Haugh and Jordan MacIntosh, played for Chippewa’s hockey team when they attended the school.
According to MacIntosh, during his playing days, the Big Reds were ranked as the No. 10 team in the state and made it all the way to the regional finals during his junior year (2004-05). In order to reach that level again, and perhaps even surpass it, MacIntosh scheduled what he considers to be tough games.
Chippewa has nine seniors on its roster, and MacIntosh thinks they may be the key to long-term success.
“Have those older kids, with their leadership, reflect it down to the younger kids,” he said. “You build a program with those younger kids. If we can have a good season, it will go a long way for future years.”
MacIntosh is excited about the opportunity he and his assistant coaches have been given regarding rebuilding the program.
“It’s real interesting for us to see it from a different angle,” he said. “We’re really invested in the program, because we all played there. We want to see it succeed again.”
To help Chippewa reach its goals, this season and beyond, MacIntosh opted to make freshman Shaun Brown his starting goalie. The hope is that the experience he gains early in his career will be beneficial as the program moves forward.
To reach their goal of division champs, Brown and his teammates will have to get by some tough teams in the MAC Blue, including defending champion, Fraser.
“It’s got some good teams,” MacIntosh said of the MAC Blue. “Fraser has a good team this year. I heard Anchor Bay has a really good team. Warren Mott usually has a decent team. Us, Fraser and Anchor Bay — any of us could win it. It’ll be interesting.”
Chippewa is next scheduled to be in action at 7:55 p.m. Dec. 12 at Great Lakes Sports City in Fraser against Warren Mott.