The club hockey team is gearing up for their season, which they hope will be a winning one despite many challenges they already face.
Last season injuries plagued their lines and they have already suffered several injuries this early in the season. To combat this, they have increased the intensity of their on and off ice practices.
“We work hard on and off the ice. We try to keep focused and keep up with both athletics and academics,” said goalie Ben Case ’12.
Even harder to overcome than injuries is the depth of the team this season. Despite good freshman recruitment, the size of the team is still lacking.
“Our biggest weakness right now is our size. We have the numbers and solid hockey players when everyone shows up but were not the biggest group of guys out there,” said Evan Barker â€˜14.
“We could use 3 full lines instead of two. Ideally we could use 6 solid defensemen and 9 solid forwards, instead of 5 and 4,” Case said.
Still, there is a lot of potential for this young team. The inexperience of the new players coming to the table is balanced with the skilled leadership of the upperclassmen players that Case says is the key to the development of the program.
“These young guys are the future of the program. Everyone is competent but it takes time to build up college-level skill and time is key to get the team to mesh together. The young guys have really stepped up and played despite several injuries. We’re a very hard working team,” Case said.
Case aims for this season to be a winning season. He hopes to assist the team in reaching the Blue Ridge Hockey Conference and, as he says any team would set their sights for, the ODAC championship.
“Minimally, I would like a winning season. I want to win as many games as possible,” Case said.
Barker’s goal is the same.
“My biggest goal this season is just trying to be a more active member on the team, both on and off the ice. I want to try to keep everyone motivated and excited to play and win,” Barker, ’14, said.
Keeping the team motivated will be essential to the team’s success this year as they face such teams as Maryland, Tennessee, Radford and Liberty.
Barker points out that even with certain deficits the team has, the work they are putting in as a whole and the momentum and commitment of the team is a great asset to club hockey.
“We have great potential this season but it will be what people put into it,” Barker â€˜14.