Club Hockey season brings excitement to campus

Since Norwich’s club hockey team took the ice this season, their fan base has dramatically increased for the team. It will now be able to follow them into playoffs, as long as the players can focus on a clean game and raise enough money to support their traveling.

 For Patrick LaFevre, 20, a junior history major from Milford, N.J., it’s the pure aggression that the club team brings out on the ice that makes the games so enjoyable to watch. “I love watching those guys lay big hits out there. They’re always looking to beat up their opponents,” LaFevre said.

Norwich Cadets prepare for the club hockey white-out game. (Nick Toscano Photo)

Norwich Cadets prepare for the club hockey white-out game. (Nick Toscano Photo)

While these hits have been entertaining and have instilled fear in opponents, the team may be a bit too aggressive, said player Ryan Madigan, 20, a junior criminal justice major from Ayer, Mass. “There are way too many stupid penalties,” Madigan said, “it’s good to be aggressive, but we need to control it.”

Penalties have plagued the team this season. Although the team has had an exciting year thus far, many of the players agree that they still have room for improvement, and high on the concerns are penalties that force the team to play short-handed..

Madigan says these penalties are mostly due to the teams somewhat tough mentality. “The team just retaliates too much, we’re just too aggressive,” Murphy said.

Needless to say, while the team members see drawbacks, the crowd loves the action and they get fired up for the event-night games.

“We love the event-nights,” said David Sugrue, 19, a sophomore criminal justice major from Wilmington, Mass. and member of the team, “Some good ones were military appreciation night that the varsity team piggy-backed off us, and of course the popular ugly holiday sweater night.”

The West Point game was a highly remembered one for club hockey player Connor Murphy, 19, a criminal justice major from Westwood, Mass. “The West Point game was huge even though we lost, we still played well, the crowd was great, and we even had the regimental band there,” Murphy said.

For club hockey fan Steve Maldonado, 20, a sophomore engineering management major from Nyack, N.Y., the club teams hosted event nights really brought the school together. “Ugly sweater night was great!” Maldonado said, “Half the campus was practically there, and almost everyone participated in the theme.”

LaFevre was among one of the fans that attended the ugly sweater game and states that it was a good bonding experience between him and his peers, as they rounded up prepping their ugly sweaters to wear and cheered on the club hockey team.

“I even went around campus with some of my pals singing Christmas carols after. And we went as far as to decorate my room, it was the game that put us in the spirit,” LaFevre said.

“The West Point game was truly exciting,” said Alex Kwmuntis, 19, a sophomore environmental science major from Peabody, Mass. He mentions that the game brought a lot of school pride that night facing another military academy.

“There was a lot of enthusiasm brought to that game, I would get goose bumps whenever the band started playing and people started screaming,” Kwmuntis said.

Norwich club hockey team plays fierce. (Nick Toscano Photo)

Norwich club hockey team plays fierce. (Nick Toscano Photo)

Madigan believes that the fans have helped the team, mentioning that the team has its own Facebook page called the “Harmon Drive Hooligans,” that keeps the school up-to-date on the games and their big event nights.

The club hockey team still holds a shot at the playoffs, said Murphy. “There are still spots open, and we could potentially play a game in Florida.” Murphy says that a problem with that is that the team is forced to fundraise to participate in these events due to the university’s minimal funding for the club program.

“We do great work in the community such as putting on clinics for the youth. People really appreciate it that, we have done this just to be active in the community and give back it feels good, but what we didn’t expect was anything in return,” Madigan said. “Some people we have helped have donated checks to help our cause and we appreciate that, it’ll help us accomplish our goals and travel to places such as Florida.”

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