Breast cancer awareness club hockey game

Derek Radtke_Club Hockey 2 (color) On Oct. 20th, the Norwich University (NU) Club Hockey Team hosted the annual “Paint the Rink Pink” game against Southern New Hampshire University.

Every year in October, the NU club hockey team hosts a game in which ‘pink’ is the main theme – pink for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The crowd is encouraged to wear pink to show their support.

Though they are a fairly new team, NU club hockey has grown significantly as a popular sports team on campus. The club team had a rough start last year. During the first half of the season, they were known for their aggressive behavior and the penalties they racked up as a result. During the second half, the team pulled together and proceeded to score more goals and stay out of the box. Although they finished the season exceptionally strong, they failed to make the playoffs, which was their primary goal.

Ryan Clavette, a 19 year-old psychology major from Medford, Mass., was one of the few goalies that made the team last season. “It was a privilege to make the team last year, despite the fact many people saying its only club hockey, with the nationally ranked men’s ice hockey team over-shadowing them,” Clavette said. “Even though there are many other club hockey teams in the country there is a sense of pride to be felt.”

This year, the Cadets are under the guidance of a new head coach, Bruce Baroffio Jr. “There was a lot of good talent on the ice but it was real difficult to make decisions based on who showed up,” Barrofio said of tryouts. “It’s always difficult to cut a kid that worked hard to make the team.”

Baroffio said that drill performance factors into tryouts when making the cuts but usually it comes down to ice awareness, skating abilities, raw skill, and most importantly for forward players, speed. These skills usually secure players a spot on the team.

Assistant manager Patrick Martin, a 19-year-old sophomore and Lynnfield, Mass., resident majoring in criminal justice, agreed with coach Baroffio, adding that “a lot of hard skating, play-making, and hard work” will lead to a successful season for the cadets.

John Davidson, a freshman sports medicine major from Naples, Fla., was excited to join the team after making it through tryouts. Davidson said “my biggest goal for this year is to make it to the playoffs and help cut down on penalty minutes to keep us on the ice”.

“These guys are a wild bunch and I’m going to put a stop to that, and once we get down to some disciplined hockey and stay out of the box we are going to be a good team,” said Coach Barofficjo.

One of the main reasons the club hockey team draws such large crowds, besides their aggressive play, is its well-known theme nights. As 19-year-old Zach Michael, a right wing and sophomore physics major from Northampton, Pa., said, “The whole part of theme night is to incorporate the crowd so they can have fun. If the crowd is having fun, we’re having fun.”

Not only do the Cadets plan on drawing better crowds with theme nights, they also plan to engage the community by volunteering around Northfield, according to Matt Sullivan a defenseman and sports medicine major from Baldwin Harbor, N.Y.

Sullivan hopes that giving back to the community will provide more incentive for them to come visit more than just the NCAA men’s hockey team and see how the club team plays.

The Cadets face a tough schedule this year, playing rivals West Point, and UMass Lowell. “West Point will be a tough game this year after losing by two (last year) we need to step up and beat them,” Clavette said.

Though the Cadets did not take home a victory last Sunday in their journey to the playoffs, the support for a good cause made it a win for the NU club team.

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