Varsity Hockey Player competes at Illinois Showcase

Ever since Jake Cimarusti ‘16 was four years-old, he dreamed of succeeding in hockey. Now, after 13 years of hard work, his dreams have became reality following his placement on the 23-member Illinois High School Showcase Team. Cimarusti also helped lead the Illinois team to second at the Showcase.

“I believe that I performed really well,” Cimarusti said.  “At the end of the tournament I had five goals and four assists in six games. I am proud of the team and it was really nice to play with a bunch of good guys.”

Cimarusti’s achievements were made possible with the help of James Wood, varsity hockey coach. In 2007, Wood was awarded the Billy Reay Coach of the Year title for distinguishing himself as a mentor, coach and an individual giving back to the Illinois community.

“Jake has a lot of hockey skills; he is a fast skater and a strong athlete which is why he can be a great physical player as well as a great skill player,” Wood said.

The Showcase team competed  in the 31st annual USA Hockey America’s Showcase in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from April 9 to 13. All-star teams from around the country played in front of college scouts and coaches.

“I think there was some pressure put on me during the game like expected,” Cimarusti said. “ It just added to the intensity of the game.”

Yet, while he felt pressured to do well, the odds were in Cimarusti’s favor. He was the leading scorer this year for Stevenson and is one of the top scorers in the The Scholastic Hockey League conference, one of the toughest conferences in the state, according to Wood.

“Jake is an important player, and the way he performed this year certainly helped us out,” Wood said. “When he was on-ice, we usually had a good game.”

In fact, the varsity hockey team made it all the way to the state playoffs this season. They lost by four goals to Loyola Gold and did not make it to state finals. However, even after the loss, Cimarusti continues to have a positive attitude in regards to achieving his goals.

“I just believe that if an athlete wants to reach a certain goal and it’s not working, then they are not working hard enough to achieve it,” Cimarusti said.