By Kayla Lemay
The Men’s Ice Hockey team is on the hunt for varsity recognition, and there is no time like the present for this fast-flying team to earn it.
This club team has been going strong for 16 seasons now. Playing out of Bridgewater Ice Arena, the team practices three times a week in the early morning hours and travels frequently for their games, which run from September to February, the longest season of any team at BSU.
The problem is, the money for these students to play comes almost entirely out-of-pocket. Being a club sport, BSU only gives the team $2,000 total to work with.
Coach Mike Monahan said, “The money the Club Sports Department gives us covers 10 practices, or about three weeks. Our annual spending is in excess of $40,000 a year. Students have to pay $1,400 each just to play for the team.”
The rest of the money for travel expenses and ice time is raised by the students through fundraisers, such as their annual golf tournament in the summer, which, according to Monahan, raises around $4,000.
“We also try to get a lot of community service in,” said Monahan. “We want to prove we’re more than a club team, and the team is full of good guys.”
The team charges entry to their games, as well, to offset some of the costs of travel and play. Entry to their home games are $4 with a BSU ID or for Seniors 65+, and $6 for adults.
Captain Matthew O’Connor, a senior, said that the team has grown a lot in the time he’s played. “When I first started, we were at 22 players. This year, we had over 40 guys try out, and we had to actually make cuts.”
The team has an even spread of ages, ranging from freshman to seniors. “It adds a lot of depth to have such a mix,” said Captain Dylan Santos, a senior.
Despite not being given enough money to offset the heavy costs, the captains all agreed on one point: “Cathy Davis, the Director of Campus Recreation, does a lot for us,” said O’Connor. “She deserves a shoutout.”
At their home game on Sunday, Oct. 19, against the University of Albany (SUNY), the Bears showed that they truly earn every penny they get from fundraising.
From the get-go of the game, the Bears showed speed and finesse in all areas on the ice. While things did turn ugly in the second period with fights breaking out after BSU’s Mason Yates was sent off the ice with an injury, the team stayed together.
One SUNY player received a disqualification, meaning he was kicked out of the game, and forced to sit the next. Another received a game misconduct, kicking him out as well.
The Bears beat SUNY 3 to 1, with goals by Derek Johnson, Cameron Miglietta, and Captain Andrew Taylor. This win makes them 5 to 1 on the season.
Monahan said the team has adjusted well. “A lot of the guys are coming from the junior leagues, where the rules are different. There’s an adjustment between NCAA rules and the juniors. Every year has been better.”
Now it is simply up to BSU’s Athletics Department to grant these men a team with Varsity status. They continue to prove they deserve it, through wins both on and off the ice.
Their next home games are Oct. 25 at 5:40 p.m. against the University of Vermont, and Oct. 31 at 8:10 p.m. against Roger Williams University. All games are played at Bridgewater Ice Arena, which is located at 20 Bedford Park in Bridgewater, just off of Route 18.
Kayla Lemay is the Editor-in-Chief of The Comment. Follow her on Twitter at @klemay123.