Cats skate through ailments

Brandon Zeris, Copy Editor

The Pitt-Johnstown Ice Cats have been hit hard by illness and injuries, but some members said the team has played well despite the problems.

Many players have been playing with the flu, according to Head Coach Dave Layman.

“Our captain, David Kutzer, got sick and it made its way to some other guys. Some guys have been playing with it and have been throwing up on the ice.

“Things like this happen every once in a while and it’s unfortunate,” he said.

Layman said some of the players have returned from their absences, including freshman Aaron Seigh.

Seigh said he has been cleared to play after missing most of the season.

“I was out for a month with a (head) concussion. I went down in the corner to make a play on the puck, went to pass, and, right after, I was hit into the boards from the behind. I don’t remember too much from it, though.”

Seigh said his own insurance covered the cost. UPJ does not cover club teams, like it does varsity teams.

Layman said Ice Cats players are covered by USA Hockey Inc.

“Insurance is kind of goofy with hockey. If a player’s own insurance covers it, great, but, if not, USA Hockey covers it,” he said.

According to the organization’s website, they are ice hockey’s national governing body.

For a $30 membership fee, players are given insurance coverage, that pays for some injury-associated fees. Payouts are determined by injury severity.

Although many players have made a successful return, a few are still recovering.

Leading scorer Eugene Mack has been sick for a while, according to Layman.

“He’s been sick all week.”

Freshman Forward Troy Schall said he is going to be out for about a month due to a broken right big toe, but expects the team to do well despite the injuries.

“I broke and separated my big toe at dry land (off-ice hockey practice). With all of the injuries that we have, I expect us to keep playing well. It makes it tougher … but good teams find a way to win.

“We set a goal to make it to regionals, and we still expect to achieve that,” he said.

Layman said the team has a 9-8 overall record, but said things should improve in the coming weeks.

“We’ve been competing against schools twice as big as us, so we’re happy with being a game over .500.

“After this weekend, our schedule gets easier for us. If we lose from here on out, it would be an upset.”