Exciting O'Connell Hockey News!

Exciting O'Connell Hockey News!
Coach Rixon drops a puck during practice drills

Girls Hockey Program Announced – Bishop O’Connell is thrilled to announce the expansion of the Knights hockey program to include a girls varsity ice hockey team for the 2023-2024 school year. The team is set to play against other teams in the Washington Catholic Athletics Conference (WCAC), as well as the Mid-Atlantic Girls Hockey League (MAGHL).

“This is an exciting time for our school’s ice hockey program,” said Head of School Bill Crittenberger. “Opportunities for girls to play ice hockey at the high school level are certainly growing in this area, and we are looking forward to what this new team will bring to this arena. Go Knights!”

This past winter season, 17 girls participated in a school ice hockey club under the leadership of O’Connell’s social studies department chair, Geoff Rixon. Coach Rixon is in his sixth year at the school and has officially been named the head coach for the 2023-2024 school year. He enthusiastically shares his love of the game, having played youth hockey with the Reston Raiders, high school hockey at Paul VI, and club hockey at Fordham University, where he also served as team manager and assistant coach.

The O’Connell girls ice hockey program will also benefit from the mentorship and coaching of O’Connell alumna, Grace Fisher ’16, who played DIII college ice hockey at UMass-Boston. She currently coaches a youth girls team at The St. James in Springfield.

Contact Coach Rixon at grixon@bishopoconnell.org.

Thomas Brooks headshot

New Boys Head Coach - Thomas Brooks, who stepped in as interim head coach of the boys varsity team this past January, has been officially tapped to be the head coach for the 2023-2024 season.

“Coach Brooks has shown he is a tremendous leader and mentor,” said Athletic Director Joe Wootten.

“He did a remarkable job with the V1 team over the concluding one-third of the season,” added Bill Crittenberger. “His leadership, integrity, deep care for his players, knowledge of the game, and inspiring confidence led to a marked turnaround to the season.”

Coach Brooks was born and raised in Fairfax County and attended James Madison High School where he was a three-sport athlete, including football, ice hockey, and lacrosse. His youth hockey days began as a Reston Raider, and later he played for the Ashburn Xtreme. He went on to play four years of Division 1 ACHA Ice Hockey at West Virginia University, serving as one of the team's alternate captains during his senior year. More recently, he has been coaching hockey at The St. James, starting with U16 and U14, and currently with the U18 AA travel team.

Reflecting on the end of the 2022-2023 campaign, Brooks remarked, “This is a great group of hockey players that came together as a team and worked hard to get better, on and off the ice. To struggle as we did in the regular season and then end up in overtime of the MAPHL quarterfinals battling the number one team in the league, is just an amazing turn around and a testament to the hard work these players put in. I couldn't be more proud of this group and I can't wait to see where we go from here."

Contact Coach Brooks at tbrooks@bishopoconnell.org.