New boys’ hockey head coach

Ben Horsch takes on new position


Ayelet Prottas

Head coach Ben Horsch leads the team during a game against Edina Dec. 2. This is Horsch’s first year as the Park boys’ hockey team head coach.

Tenzin Gyaldatsang

After taking over the Orioles boys’ hockey program, new head coach Ben Horsch said he wants the team to be able to compete at the varsity level and understand what it takes to excel.

“We have a lot of goals, internally, just as far as learning. Honestly, it’s not even about games, wins and losses. A lot of these kids have never played varsity hockey. We had 12 seniors graduate, so they need to learn our system,” Horsch said. “It’s a big learning curve on what it means to be on a varsity team instead of a bantam team or a JV team where most of these kids were last year.”

For senior Robert Perelman, although the team had to deal with many difficulties early this season, Horsch has efficiently led the team.

“It’s gone well for having a new coach come around and for having a tough start to our season by playing Edina,” Perelman said. “It doesn’t get much harder than that, when (Edina) is one of the best teams in the state. Our practices have gone well, and coach (Horsch) has prepared us for games.”

Horsch said he heard about the position through talk between other coaches, and decided to apply. 

“I know a lot of guys in the metro area here. Honestly, if you’ve been coaching long enough, you know about the jobs before they even open,” Horsch said. “Once it opened up, I talked to the AD [athletic director], threw my name in the hat and at a couple other places, but this seemed like the best fit for me and my staff.”

According to Perelman, Horsch runs a tight ship and expects the players to persist and strive to get better.

“Coach Horsch is much more strict and on top of things. Nobody is late, he doesn’t take that. He runs everything tight, and I feel like it was a little more loose with other coaches,” Perelman said.

Horsch said he has high expectations for the team, whether it be on or off the ice, and wants players to have the motivation to improve.

“I want our team to compete in the classroom, I want our team to compete in the weight room, and I want our team to compete on the hockey rink,” Horsch said. “We need kids that are naturally driven, which we have a lot of. But some of these kids need a pat on the back, and some kids need a kick in the butt.”

Perelman emphasized the efforts Horsch has made to teach and prepare the players for games.

“With the old coaches, we didn’t have many systems and things we could go with, but he’s taught us,” Perelman said. “I’ve learned the most about positioning and all aspects of the game through coach Horsch. He’s been good with explaining everything and giving us notes to look over, and I think that’s been huge.”

So far, Horsch said he has had a great time bonding with the players, and hopes to assist them through the vicissitudes of life.

“It’s been really enjoyable to me. I met these kids in June. I met a few of them during the interview process in April and May, but it’s been really enjoyable,” Horsch said. “My favorite part is getting to know the kids, helping them get to where they want to be, whether it’s in hockey or any other form of life.”