The Lightning High School Hockey League (LHSHL) has made an addition, with the newly formed Riverview Ice Sharks club joining the league. The team will consist of students from Riverview, Spoto, Armwood and Robinson High Schools.
The club recently hired Corey Clarks as their head coach. According to Clarks, he moved to Canada when he was younger when his mom remarried and became interested in the country’s national sport.
He played youth hockey, all the way up to 16 years old, and at 17 started playing junior hockey for three seasons. He took a four-year break from the sport and later started playing college club hockey in Washington State, just across the border of Vancouver, where he was living.
In 2000, Clarks took up coaching when his friend needed help teaching classes to young hockey players. He was later offered an assistant coaching position by the same friend when another assistant coach left the team.
“I got into coaching by a fluke or luck, and I’m very thankful that I did,” said Clarks. “I’m kicking myself. I wish that I got into it earlier in my life when I was a little bit younger.”
Clarks is currently relocating to Florida from Dallas. He will be fully moved in by mid-August. He will also be coaching a 16U club hockey team located in Oldsmar called the Tampa Bay Junior Lightning. The coaching hire for the Riverview team was made by the board members of the club in late February.
“Coach Clarks brought all the qualifications we were looking for in a coach within a brand new team in the league,” said Team Manager Michele Ellington. “What he is bringing to the table, with his years of experience and the expectations he has for the hockey players, is what we are looking for to bring forth to a successful team, but more importantly their development and success as hockey players.”
According to Ellington, in the past, players from Riverview High School played with the Bloomingdale Ice Bulls Hockey Club, but they now have enough players to form their own club. The Ice Sharks will practice in the Lakeland Ice Arena on Wednesday nights at 8 p.m.
Clarks looks forward to getting to know his players.
“It’s very intriguing, it’s a brand-new team,” he said. “I like that whole concept of a brand-new team and being at the helm for the very beginning, shaping the program as we (the coaching staff) move along and molding it to the way we see fit is the best way to help a brand-new organization. Player development is going to be crucial with this team moving forward.”