ALTONAlton's hockey team lost quite a few players from last year's Mississippi Valley Club Hockey Association's Class 2A North Division finalists.

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Ten Redbirds graduated in May, including top players such as Kain Henson, so it was going to be a new-look team the Redbirds would be fielding this year, but with Marquette Catholic unable to field a team for this season, the two programs merged together for the year under the Alton banner.

“We lost a good portion of our team last year,” said Redbird coach Abram Henson, “but we were able to pick up a number of kids from Marquette. They've been very good additions to our team, especially the older kids.

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“They (the additions from Marquette) wanted to play somewhere this year, and we were glad to bring them in. Everyone's really excited about the year and we think we can be a pretty good team.”

Returning to the Redbirds from Alton are Jake Bohn, Jacob Eppert, Austin Erthal, Brandon Lang, Logan Rushing, Tanner St. Peters and Scott Waldrup; joining the team from the Explorers are Joe Boevingloh, Caleb Currie, Zack Hunter, Connor Jones, Bryce Simon and Mark Vitali.

“We've got a lot of talent on the team,” Henson said. “We think we can compete with anyone and we know we've got a very good crew out there this year.

“The (MVCHA) is a pretty strong league and there's good competition here every night. We'll get out there every night and compete as best as we can.”

The Redbirds opened the season with a win over Granite City before being defeated by Edwardsville Tuesday night. The Redbirds next take on Highland at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday at East Alton Ice Arena, then play Bethalto at 8:45 p.m. Nov. 16, also at East Alton.

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