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Hockey: Sandburg’s Howey ‘no ordinary player’

Adam Howey Sandburg | Gary Middendorf/For Sun-Times Media

Adam Howey, of Sandburg | Gary Middendorf/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 23, 2014 5:45PM

When Sandburg coach Keith Mizwicki saw Adam Howey whisking around the ice five years ago, he had an inkling that the then-seventh-grader could develop into something special.

Howey has not disappointed.

The Sandburg senior is not only the team’s top playmaker — he has 17 goals and 28 assists in 22 games — he’s also one of the top penalty killers in the state, according to Mizwicki.

It’s rare a teenager with such amazing offensive attributes applies so much energy to defense.

Then again, Howey is no ordinary hockey player.

“I had a feeling he was going to be a dominant player,” Mizwicki said. “The thing about Adam is that he can distribute the puck just as well as he can score goals. He has great vision. He’s extremely shifty with the puck and very elusive. He uses his shiftiness to avoid a lot of checks and to create opportunities in tight spaces. And he’s one of the, if not the, hardest-working kids on the team.”

The hard work is paying off, not only from an individual standpoint, but from a team aspect, too. Sandburg was expected to endure some growing pains after losing key talent to graduation from a team that advanced to the state semifinals a year ago. That’s where the Eagles ran into perennial power New Trier Green and suffered a crushing 3-2 loss in overtime.

Led by Howey, the Eagles again are finding their groove, sitting at 17-8-1 overall and 13-3 in the Metro West League through Wednesday. Sandburg has won four straight, including two wins in three nights over York by scores of 9-2 and 8-3.

“We’re looking better than I thought we would,” said Howey, an Orland Park resident. “We have a lot of new kids, but they’re filling their roles real well.”

A right-handed shooter, Howey started his organized hockey career with the Orland Vikings at the age of six. He moved on to play with the Chicago Fury and Chicago Mission before joining Sandburg his junior year.

“I’m happy with going to Sandburg,” Howey said. “The school is starting to support the hockey program more. It’s fun playing in front of our fans.”

It’s also been fun for Howey to experience high school hockey with his twin brother, Alex, who does a nice job setting up Adam on many of his goals.

“We have a lot of chemistry,” Adam said. “Alex is a great playmaker. I’m more of a scorer and he’ll set me up. It’s really cool playing on the same team with him.”

Howey would like to continue to play hockey, either in juniors or college.

Mizwicki is confident that will happen.

“He has the ability to play at the next level,” Mizwicki said. “He’s tough to knock off the puck. He has a lot of promise.”

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