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Former Blues Players Cap Off Dream Season with Mission at National Tier 1 Championship

By Chicago Blues Hockey Club, 05/08/24, 8:45PM CDT

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Former Blues players Louis Vittorio and Jack Hextall just wrapped up a dream season with the Chicago Mission U15’s by defeating the Long Island Gulls 4 – 1 in the National Championship game. The Mission were ranked #1 heading into the national tournament and defeated a tough #2 Shattuck St. Mary’s team to get to the final. Louis and Jack played together with the Chicago Blues 2008’s and opted to play on the tier 1 circuit for the past several years. Louis was a regular at the Edge on Sunday mornings, as he enjoyed watching his sister Angelina’s 2011 CS team.  After an amazing 65-11-3 season, the boys were right back at with Spring season and Player Development tryouts starting the following week.  Despite their busy schedule, Blues Director Todd Finner was able to talk to both Jack and Louis about their amazing season and their hockey careers so far and looking ahead.

Jack Hextall
Q. How does it feel to be part of the best team in the country?
A. It feels amazing, there is no better feeling than ending a season that way.


Q. How did you sleep the night prior to the national title game?
A. It took a while to fall asleep. I was very excited and anxious to play.


Q. How were your nerves at game time?
A. There were butterflies before the game but nothing too crazy. Once I got on the ice they went away, and I felt more confident.


Q. Have you been in touch with any scouts this year?
A. Yes, I signed a tender with the defending USHL champion Youngstown Phantoms and have been in touch with a few NCAA teams.


Q. Do you still keep in touch with your Blues teammates?
A. Yes, I had fun playing with them and still keep in touch.


Q. Who is your biggest influence in hockey?
A. Actually, I have two main influences, my Dad and Grandpa Bill Martin.


Q. Is there any NHL player who plays a role similar to how you see yourself?
A. I like to model my game after Sidney Crosby and Nikita Kucherov. Sid because he plays such a strong 200-foot game, is super competitive and always works as hard as he can. Kucherov because of his vision, hockey IQ and deception.

Louis Vittorio
Q. How did you sleep the night before the national title game?
A. It was hard for me to fall asleep. I bet my teammates felt the same way. We were all so excited to go out there one last time and become national champions.


Q. Were you nervous before any games and if so, how did you deal with it?
A. I was definitely nervous before the games, but getting involved in some contact is the way I shake off my nerves.

Q. Can you tell me about dealing with injuries and how you prepared physically and mentally to be able to contribute to your team when it mattered most.
A. Over the past 2 years, I have missed about six months in total due to injury. I found the mental aspect of recovery the most difficult. It is important that you do not become afraid after a series of tough breaks and continue to play the game as if nothing ever happened. I found this approach helped me return to my normal self and be able to compete with my team against the best hockey players in the nation.


Q. What are your plans from here?
A. To remain at the Mission for one more year and get drafted in the USHL draft this upcoming month. I would like to get called up for some USHL experience in the next season.


Q. What is your best attribute as a player?
A. My best attribute has to be my skating. I think that I am among the fastest skaters on my team and could compete with some of the fastest in the country. It’s just a natural thing I have.


Q. What do you remember about your time here at the Blues?
A. It was amazing. I spent about 5 seasons at the Blues and enjoyed all of them. I won a couple of championships and have countless memories with the coaches and my teammates.

Q. I’ve seen you at a number of your sisters’ practices and games. I think that is pretty special. Do you enjoy watching her and her team play?
A. I enjoy watching Angelina play and I feel like it is my job. I definitely have given her some “constructive criticism” to make her a better player. She is an excellent athlete and has a very bright future ahead of her as a female athlete.

Congratulations to Jack and Louis on an amazing season!