Taking over a high school hockey program is never easy but doing so in the middle of a pandemic doesn’t help the matter. None the less, the Waupun boys hockey program went through a coaching change when longtime coach Jason Buchholz stepped down with Nick Tank and Matt Babiash taking the reigns of the program as co-head coaches. Coach Babiash and Coach Tank have been a part of the Waupun program, with Tank being a varsity assistant and Babiash the JV coach.
The Warriors graduated 11 seniors from last year’s squad that qualified for the WIAA Division Two Sectional Final so they will have a lot of new faces looking to contribute in new roles this season. They only have 22 skaters in the entire program between varsity and JV. Coach Babiash says they will be relying on three seniors in Brady Gerritson, Sawyer Williamson and Casper Dahlke for leadership.
“Those guys are going to be leaned on heavily to no only show the leadership but contribute and be the leaders on the ice.” Coach Babiash told DailyDodge.com “We are going to turn to them when we need a goal. We are going to turn to them when we need a big defensive stand.”
Also returning is junior goalie Tyler Fromolz, who earned Honorable Mention All-State and 2nd Team All-Badgerland Conference recognition as a sophomore.
“When he is on his game, he is definitely one of the best goalies in the state” Babiash said. “He’s going to be counted on to keep us in games and eventually we are going to win games because of Tyler.”
The Warriors blue line is very young as a pair of freshmen and two sophomores are seeing the brunt of the time on defense. The group of forwards also includes junior Quinn Baley and freshman Mason Holz.
“So far this year though we are competing, we competing better than Nick and I both thought. We got our first win in the first game against Appleton. It was a nice confidence booster for the kids.” Babiash said. “There’s going to be bumps in the road, and there has been, but I think that these kids are going to get better by learning from them for years to come, they are going to help our program grow.”
Click the link to hear a full interview with Waupun co-head boys hockey coach Matt Babiash
If you have a question about this story or have an idea for a future local sports story, please email Wade Bates at [email protected]