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Hockey teams win titles

Northampton head varsity coach Brian Ruff can attribute his program’s stream of success in the Lehigh Valley Scholastic Hockey (LVSHL) to a simple formula. Recently, the Kids captured LVSHL titles on the varsity, middle school, and youth levels.

“We just get the kids to play hard,” said Ruff, who completed his 33rd year with the program. “We teach them the basics and what they need to know. There is no magic formula. If you give 100 percent or better, you should be successful, and your talent will also take over.”

The Kids’ varsity unit won its second consecutive crown, and they have captured three of the last four. Overall, it was the seventh championship for Ruff at the helm since he took over the program in 1991.

For Ruff, though, it has been a family affair. Sons Jason, Kyle, Erik, and Cody have gone through the program and some have coached as well. However, his wife, Raeann, has been the steady force.

“She is the glue that holds everything together,” beamed Ruff. “If it wasn’t for her, this would collapse in two weeks.”

Ruff also has been impressed with the developmental program that includes Pre-K through third grade. He stated there are 20 kids in the program.

“We have them on the ice every week,” said Ruff. “They have really progressed, and it’s amazing to see what they can do. This group always is the most fun to be around.”

Ruff has watched the inconsistency of the league over the years with the addition and subtraction of teams. One major factor lately has been the availability of another ice rink.

“The big issue is that we have stopped growing and become stagnant,” he added. “We need another ice rink, and there is money to be made for someone to start it. We used to play as many as 16 to 18 games in a season, and we only played 10 this past season.”

The Kids’ program will shut down during the late spring and summer, and they will begin again late August and early September. Ruff stated all four teams had full rosters this past season.

Chances are, the Kids will be gunning for their third title and eighth overall.

“There is a lot of interest in the programs,” noted Ruff. “We’ll get back at it once school starts, and the kids will be ready.”

For more information on the programs, contact Ruff, k-kidscoach@rcn.com.

Contributed photos The Northampton middle school ice hockey team posed after taking home the title recently.
The Northampton varsity team celebrated another title at the PPL Center recently.
The Northampton youth hockey team also brought home a championship this season.