The men’s hockey team ended their season with a positive outlook despite tough competition and the absence of an official coach.
Allegheny’s biggest rival, Gannon
University, presented the Gators with their toughest competition of the season. Senior captain Kyle Adams attributes the rivalry to the amount of times the teams play against each other, making the players more knowledgeable of the opponents.
This season, the men fell short, losing to Gannon in every match.
“This year we didn’t do so well, we lost all of the games. But last year, we actually beat them every time we played them. It kind of goes back and forth year to year,” Adams said.
Since the hockey team is a club sport, it is often difficult to get enough players to compete.
Current president Andrew Greiner, ’14, says the team does not go through a recruitment process and many new players join because of personal interests. On the same token, academic studies are the main priority for the players.
“Everyone who is at Allegheny and plays on the club team is here for academics first,” Greiner said. “It’s a nice opportunity to balance playing hockey as well.”
Currently, the team is without a permanent coach. Former player Stuart DeLand, ‘13, has filled the role temporarily.
DeLand volunteered for the position even though he was unable to play during the spring season.
“I asked Andrew at the beginning of the season […] I said, ‘If I could help out in any other way, I know I’ll be on the bench anyway,’” he said.
He is out for the season because of a reconstructive surgery that prevents him from participating in contact sports. His role on the team is to act as a stand-in coach during games while Greiner and Adams determine line changes and plays.
Greiner finds DeLand to be a great asset, but he knows having an official coach will give the team a big advantage, especially since DeLand is a senior. The team hopes to find members of the community or Allegheny alumni to serve as possible coaching staff for future years.
Besides filling the coaching position, the team also looks to increase their number of members to make up for the absence of senior players next fall. Greiner believes this is a great opportunity for younger members to take on leadership roles.
Their season concluded with a 4-7-1 record, one that players feel was good compared to previous seasons. After being kicked out of their league two years ago, they did not play any league games for a year. Starting this season, the men joined the National Association of Intercollegiate Hockey where they finished 2-3 in their league. However, being new to the NAIH did not provide the Gators with many league games. This is something they hope to increase in the future provided their budget allows it.
While the team did not come out with a winning record, the season did produce some memorable moments.
A season highlight for Adams included the recent overnight trip to play St. Francis University. In their first game, the Gators were defeated 10-9, but they came back for revenge the next morning winning 19-0. Chris Muise, ’15, had an 11-point game, scoring eight goals with three assists. He also felt the trip gave the team a great opportunity to spend time outside the rink.
Greiner found the most recent battle against Gannon to be a memorable moment. Last Friday, Allegheny played a home game in front of a full crowd at the Meadville Area Recreational Complex.
“That was like the most fun game I’ve been a part of at Allegheny. It was pretty wild,” he said.
After graduation, Adams wants to put his hockey skates on the shelf and take a break from the sport. He does hope the team can build its numbers and maintain the drive to play hard.
“My big thing is always let your work ethic show who you are as a hockey player,” Adams said.
This Saturday, the hockey team will host a scrimmage with their alumni for an 11 p.m. faceoff at the Meadville Area Recreational Complex. It is open to the public, and anyone curious about the sport is encouraged to attend and learn more.