Last season, the Men’s Hockey team did not make it to playoffs after they fell to Bethel. Their record did not meet their standards, tying in 7 of their 25 games. Many of their star players suffered injuries that took them out for the majority of the season.
This season there are only two seniors leading the young squad. It leaves the returners and coaches nervous, but they are up to the challenge. The team is getting more excited as the season begins in two weeks.
“I learned alot from the seniors last year, so I’m bringing that into this season. We have a large core group coming back this year despite only having two seniors.”
Sophomore Jake Bushey, a Financial Economics major, made a name for himself last season as a first-year defender. He starred in 23 of the 25 games, scoring a total of 14 points. In the Men’s MIAC post seasons award, he made the All-Rookie team.
“I learned alot from the seniors last year, so I’m bringing that into this season. We have a large core group coming back this year despite only having two seniors. I think we will surprise a lot of people, but we’ll do well—not only this year, but the in coming years ahead of us,” Bushey said.
The hockey team started captain’s practice two weeks coming into the school year, and they take advantage of open hockey in Mankato. Their first official practice date starts on October 19th, just 11 days before their first game.
“I’m getting really anxious—nervous and excited. I know talking to the other guys and captains, they all feel the same way. We have a really close group this year,” Bushey said.
Since the Men’s Hockey team graduated 8 seniors last year, it has undoubtedly left the team to be unsure in their standings.
“We’re moving forward. We will be very young. I always get nervous around this time of year whether I’m confident about the team or not. It’s exciting when you have as many new faces as we do; there’s certainly a level of concern because we will lack experience, but that’s normal when you go through as many changes as we did,” Coach Peterson said.
“I’m excited to work with our new young guys who haven’t been in our program before. The fall for us brings hope.
We’re excited to get going to see what we have.”
—Coach Brett Peterson
Although the start seems to be shaky, the team is much more serious this season. There are shoes to be filled, and a lot to accomplish.
“I’m excited to work with our new young guys who haven’t been in our program before. The fall for us brings hope. We’re excited to get going to see what we have, we know we’ll go through some growing pains, but that’s alright, we’ve done it before and we’ll go through it again,” Coach Peterson said.
One of the dozen goals Coach Peterson focuses on is helping the seniors graduate, he finds it important to be a student before an athlete. That is one of the many reasons why Division III athletes do well. Another goal is for the team to stay healthy, but it’s almost impossible with hockey being a full contact sport.
Although last season did not prove statistically that they were the best team, they had a few games that gave them potential. The team is hoping to go all the way in, winning the MIAC championships.
Sophomore Tim Donohue from Bloomington is just as excited for the season to start as the rest of his teammates. He will be one of the players to look out for on the ice this season, as he returns much more fierce and hungry for the win.
“I think we are ready for the season. It’s hard to tell when you don’t play games, but our freshman can definitely contribute to winning games. Even if we don’t win games—that doesn’t matter all the time. As long as we can work as a team and be on the same page, we will be successful,” Donohue said.
Their first game is against Saint Mary’s on October 30th, at 6:30pm held in Blaine. They will also spend their Halloween going against Hamline University at 7:30pm also in Blaine. Both of these are apart of the MIAC showcase, kicking off a fast-paced season. Their first home game will be against the Tommies on November 14th.