The good news is the Hudson ice hockey team will have plenty of talent and depth.

The bad news is the Explorers are a bit young and inexperienced.

One way or another, Hudson should have a say in the Red North Division standings. And second-year Explorers head coach Caleb Wyse is looking forward to the upcoming season.

"We're definitely going to be a contender," he said. "We're going to be one of the teams that other teams look out for. No one is going to take us lightly. We've got the core of our scoring back."

Hudson finished 15-12-1 after losing to Solon 7-3 in the second round of the Kent district tournament. The Explorers, who were the 2016 Baron Cup I runners-up, also finished third behind Shaker Heights and Rocky River in the Red North Division with an 8-3-1 record.

"We're no far off from those teams," Wyse said. "We had close games with them last year. We need to limit our mistakes and get the puck in the other team's zone as much as possible."

Hudson did lose some key players to graduation.

They are starting goalie Austin Ganley, defensemen Harry Harr and Ricky Marez and forwards Anthony Giaimo, Mark Roberts and Zachary Myers, who Wyse said was the team's best penalty killer.

The Explorers will have two of their leading scorers back. They are senior forwards Chandler Kotseos and Max Cole.

Wyse has high hopes for a pair of sophomore defensemen. They are Blake Lori and Brady Ludewig.

Other returning players include forwards Taran Green, a senior, and Alex Nawn (junior).

Sophomore forward Cameron Slifko got plenty of varsity minutes last season. He is expected to play on the same line as freshman forwards Miles Harr and Luke Karnufel.

"That's my young guns' line," Wyse said. "They're going to have an impact. They've shown so much promise in practice."

Senior defenseman Jacob Movshin missed several games due to injuries. He is healthy this season and is anxious to return to the ice.

Taking Ganley's spot is senior goaltender Stroud Corr. Hudson has three players who currently are on the football team, which recently advanced to the Division II state semifinals. They are Ludewig and sophomores Joe Collins (forward) and Grant Gedeon (defenseman).

"We have 23 players," Wyse said. "We can only dress 20, so that means we have to sit three out. The freshmen are going to play.

"It's going to be a battle in practice. The freshmen have to come ready to go. It's not going to be easy. They should be factors for years to come."

Wyse's assistant coaches are CJ Thibault and Dominic Arcaro. As always, the Red North Division is expected to be extremely competitive.

"It's going to be interesting," Wyse said. "I don't know who's up and who's down. If you look at last year's schedule, no one really blew anybody out. It should be tighter this year. We expect to make some noise."

The Explorers are scheduled to play in the Rocky River Holiday Tournament this weekend.

They are set to play Mentor Nov. 25 at 3 p.m. and Rocky River (9 a.m.) and Avon (4:10 p.m.) Nov. 26. The tournament is scheduled to conclude Nov. 27.

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