Omaha Metro wins state hockey championship


The Omaha Metro Hockey team celebrates after winning their State Championship. The team is made up of boys from 5 different OPS schools and 3 other schools from the metro area. Photo courtesy of Brian White

Crowds of students, parents and spectators packed into the Ralston Arena on March 2, to watch the Omaha High School Hockey League Corporal Daegan Page Nebraska High School State Hockey Championship. The game was between Creighton Prep, the number one seed in the league, and Omaha Metro, the number three seed in the league. The two teams played each other five times before this final game this season, where Creighton Prep won two of the games and Metro won three. Although Creighton Prep won a game on Tuesday night 3-2, forcing another match, Omaha Metro came back to win it all on Thursday in an exciting third period.

Omaha Metro is a team made up of guys who attend mainly OPS schools, including Omaha Central, Burke, Westview and Northwest as well as other schools around the metro including Gretna, Bellevue East, and Platteview. Because hockey is not a dominant sport in the district and the Omaha Metro team has never won the title, this state championship win is huge for this program. Burke has two members on the team who made key contributions to their victory.

Assistant Captain Spencer Cooper is a senior at Burke and has played hockey all four years for Omaha Metro. He helped tie the game 2-2 in the third period by making important plays including scoring the puck on the right side of the goal, giving Metro some hope of a comeback. After his goal, players Will Parker from Central and Charlie Estee from Gretna scored three more goals, ending the game with a winning score of 5-3.

“When I scored, the first emotion that came to my head was excitement and hope,” Cooper said. “Excitement because I just scored and hope because I had a feeling that we could still win after my goal to help us come back.”

Although Cooper, along with 5 other seniors, will not be on the team next year, Omaha Metro still has ambitious goals of reclaiming their title. This goal is now in the hands of the younger players that will take on bigger roles next season. Dominik De La Cruz, a freshman at Burke, was part of the team and helped out earlier in the season. He is optimistic for the future of the team and hopes to have another chance in the playoffs next season.

“We have some talent to make up for when these seniors graduate, but luckily we still have some really good juniors that will be back for another year,” De La Cruz said. “As a freshman, I know it is expected that I don’t play in the playoffs, but I really want to push myself to get better so I can play in those games next year.”

While the underclassmen and juniors are excited for another season next year, Cooper is just happy he got to end his hockey career on a state championship win with a big crowd there to support.

“My favorite part of the championship game was when that clock hit zero and the whole team rushed to the student section,” Cooper said. “Having those people there to cheer with made it so much better, and that exciting feeling is unmatched.”