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 Troy United’s Cameron Toton advances the puck earlier this season. At press time, United was in first place in the Oakland Activities Association White Division.

Troy United’s Cameron Toton advances the puck earlier this season. At press time, United was in first place in the Oakland Activities Association White Division.

Photo provided by Amy Witkowski


Troy United hockey shooting for more than on-ice success

By: Mark Vest | Troy Times | Published January 29, 2020

TROY — After finishing in last place in the Oakland Activities Association Red Division last season, things have taken a turn for the better for Troy United’s hockey team.

At press time, United was 9-5 overall and 5-2 in the OAA White Division, which was good for first place in division play.

A division title may be the big prize for United this season, as the team is part of a challenging playoff regional. United has last year’s Division 1 state champion, Novi Detroit Catholic Central, in its regional.

The playoffs are set to begin Feb. 24.

“Postseason aspirations (are kind of) tough, because we’re usually in a regional with Catholic Central,” said coach Tim Zimmerman. “They’re out of everyone’s league. So we just try, depending on the draw — it would be nice to win a game in postseason.”

Although Zimmerman isn’t expecting to come away with a postseason championship, there are other ways this season can be a success.

“One of the big things this year was we wanted to put a little bit more organization into the team and put a little bit more responsibility on each player, and they have done a really good job as far as that goes,” Zimmerman said. “They have taken responsibility for some of their actions and some of their tasks as a team. … I think the strength of this team is how well they’ve done, not just winning, but the things off the ice.”

Zimmerman said he is a “pretty big rules guy,” with “like five or six pages” of them. He noted that seeing his players learn valuable lessons and grow throughout the year is rewarding.

“It’s probably the best thing about coaching, whether it’s any sport,” he said. “When you see it click, you’ve done your job; you’ve done what you’ve come to work for, basically. To see the growth of that off-ice or off-field demeanor and attitude from the beginning of the season to the end of the season is really amazing, especially with this team.”

As gratifying as that is, there is something else that can also bring the coach satisfaction.

“I think the favorite thing that I have is once they graduate, them coming back and practicing with us and telling stories,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman feels the program is steady as of now, but there’s work to be put in.

What he wants for the program goes beyond on-ice success.

“I would like to keep the same values that we have now,” Zimmerman said. “Not just concentrate on the games, but concentrate on off-ice improvement. I hope that will continue throughout the program at Troy United.”