Men’s hockey team heads for quarter-finals

It starts with a dream. College athletes work their whole lives to get to a high level in their career. It’s about teamwork, trust, and perseverance. You go into the game having your brothers’ backs.
That’s what Norwich hockey is all about.

But hockey is also about the community: The fans reaching out each week, experiencing the game right along with the players. This spirit among the fans pushes the team to the goal.
“The team has to prove themselves each and every game,” said Alec Thieda, a senior captain of the Norwich men’s hockey team and defenseman. “Getting out and getting involved with the community is an important part of this team due to the fact that Northfield is such a small town and they expect a lot from us.”
It shows: Overall, the team is 23-3-1 this season and has won the conference championship and awaits No. 8 seed Southern Maine in the ECAC East Quarterfinals. Norwich just became “the first team in the NCAA Division III hockey to reach 20 wins this season,” according to the Norwich Athletics website, and they’ve maintained a 4-point lead over UMass Boston.
“My ultimate achievement would be holding that national championship trophy with all of my teammates at the end of the year,” says Thieda. “I have always wanted to be a champion and I know what it takes to be one, so that’s how I set my goals.”
“You can tell when they’re on the ice, they’re a team,” says Martin Dubois of Williamstown, Vt. “They know how to work together to get the job done and strive to do better than they did the last time.” Dubois has been attending Norwich games since he was a kid; now he brings his kids along to be entertained by the team as well.
“The Glue” team chemistry is the main ingredient for success this year, says Bryce Currier, a senior defenseman and co-captain of the Norwich men’s hockey team. “Every player is giving it their all in practice and games and stepping up when we need them too. Also having every player block a shot, take a hit, sacrifice themselves for the teammate sitting next to them. We’re a family.”
“The team is based on how close the players are with each other,” Thieda says. “A lot of this stems from the seniors. It’s not just the captains, but the entire senior class. They have gained respect from the entire team and have done a great job keeping the team united as one.”
Both Currier and Thieda have been playing hockey for 20 years. Also, both cite family and siblings as their motivation to get out on the ice and play. Now they stand among their teammates with a prospective look at a possible ECAC Championship.
“To have a team that will come out and help the community and to care for it like it was their home really illustrates what kind of guys are on the ice,” says fan Alisha Roberts, “I cheer them on no matter where I am. I know they can take this all the way.”
The team takes it day by day, game by game, “Our motto is ‘win the day.’ Our coach reiterates this motto each and every day,” says Thieda, “The guys have bought into this and make it something to strive for each and every day.”
Currier adds that the team’s biggest accomplishment was “sweeping UMass Boston,” which they’ve maintained a 4-point lead over this season, “and Babson at home for two wins.”
Team unity is a clear aspect in the players day-to-day lives. Each and every one of them hanging on to the other with hopes of making it through to the end.
“Team First, Want it Earn it Take it, Win the Day, Relentless,” says Currier.
An ECAC East Championship will bring more recognition to Norwich, which already has a strong reputation as a hockey powerhouse in Division III. Success on the ice can lead to higher attendance and ultimately more fans to purchase souvenirs,which benefits the school.
“They feel a part of the winning team,” says Currier.
“I do feel as though I am part of this team. They need the community to attend and cheer them on,” says Roberts. “It lifts their spirits and pushes them to be better.”
The best advice ever given to Thieda was “to cherish every moment, as if it was your last. This year, I have been a part of so many great moments that won’t come next year. Being with guys I respect and care so much about and having such a successful year, means the most to me than anything.”
“I think it’s obvious it takes a community to raise a successful team,” says Dubois, “it extends beyond just community, from family and friends, to each other. Those guys know they have everyone’s full support behind them.”
“I am so honored to represent these guys as the team captain this year. I have had the best help from my co-captains, Nevin Lawler and Bryce Currier. They have helped me, with the rest of the senior class, [to] make this year the best year possible. I am grateful to be graduating with all these guys,” said Thieda.

Comments

  1. Richard Jarvis says:

    Hey, Randy, Can you explain to me why NU men’s ice hockey did not get a first round bye in the NCAA tourney, and why, if they win that first round, they do not get home ice for the quarter finals? Thanks for your thoughts, .Richard Jarvis

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