DuPage Stars Prepare for Tough Season, Younger Players


Andrew Knight

Dupage Stars goalie saves a shot.

The DuPage Stars have had a rough offseason, losing a few of their varsity players to age. However, the Stars gained a new crop of players, creating a younger team and opening the door to a “team reset” of sorts, all while training for challenges that lie ahead.

The Stars, based out of Downers Grove, conduct practices at The Sportsplex and hold their home games at the Willowbrook Ice Arena. Led by Head coach Chaz Davis, the Stars have been training since late summer to get back into the swing of the hockey season.

“These guys have been training since the middle of August, and they’ve been working their tails off,” Davis said. “We started our games last weekend and the league got off to a slow start, but they’ve been doing cardio every day before practice, and at the [preconditioning clinic], they’ve been training day in and day out. They’re really excited and ready to give their best this season,” Davis said.

While the Stars struggle with the loss of some of their more seasoned players, they’ve used this as an opportunity to rethink their playing strategy.

“We lost a couple of our older players, a few of our better players, but we reloaded — we retooled with some really good players,” Davis said. “We had two goalies last year and we lost one, so it was nice for Brett [Richert] to come back this year to take the role of senior goalie. We’re also looking for him to be one of our better backstops,” Davis said.

According to Davis, one of the biggest changes the team has experienced this year is the age of its players.

“As of late,” Davis said, “We’ve had a much younger team than we’ve had in previous years — about seven to eight sophomores and two to three freshmen.”


Davis also acknowledges other changes that have occurred around the league during the offseason.

“We’ve got some difficult opponents ahead and we’ve changed leagues this year from the Suburban League to the Western League,” Davis said. “They’ve got a good, talented crop of teams and players there with guys from schools like Naperville North, Naperville Central, Waubonsie Valley, and those teams draw in a lot of those kids. Clearly, we’ve got a bumpy road ahead of us, so we hope in a couple of games or so we’ll have caught up to them standing-wise.”

Senior goaltender Brett Richert says he has high personal aspirations for this season, as well. This year, playing as the starting goaltender rather than secondary, he has had to train as hard, if not harder, than his fellow forwards and defensemen.

“We lost a few key players to age last season and we moved up to one of the top high school leagues in the entire state,” Richert said. “Last year, I was one of the top goaltenders in the Hayes-Suburban League, even making the all-star team. I want to prove to myself and others that I stand with the top goalies in high school hockey. I want to bolster what my name means in this league.”

To achieve his personal expectations, Richert has been pushing himself even more than in years past.

“I’ve been running a lot, and I’m close to getting my mile down to where it was last season at five minutes [and] fifteen seconds,” Richert said. “Besides that, I’ve been on the ice a lot while working on my technique and form. Almost two hours a day, every day,” Richert said.

However, Richert admits hard work alone isn’t enough.

“The other teams in the West are shaping up to be really good, but we’re seeing now that the goaltending situations for those teams are still sub-par. I have to give 110 percent effort at all times, and I believe if you’re doing just what you’re told, you aren’t doing enough,” said Richert. “Push yourself to do more day in and day out.”

The Stars next face Lyons Township on Nov. 10 at the Willowbrook Ice Arena at 4:45 p.m.