The Gannon club hockey team started off their season earlier this month with a 2-0 weekend. They won their first game of the year against Medaille College, beating them 5-4 in a four-round shootout. They followed that game with a 15-4 win over the Wheeling-Jesuit Cardinals the next day. Going into the rest of their season, they have very high hopes, not only because of the option of winning, but also because of the possibility of making more of a name for themselves among the student body.
Over the past couple of years, the hockey team has been recognized as a club team and, as a result, have had to fight for a significant portion of their funding from Gannon’s Student Government Organization. But recently, they have been branching out, and head coach Fr. Jason Glover is very excited about the prospect.
“Support above and beyond SGA allows us to take the team to the next level,” said Glover. “Outside support allows us, for example, to continue our ongoing relationship with Coach Lemieux.”
Glover also said he believes that initially, when the team reorganized three years ago, all expenses came directly out of a player’s pocket.
“As we continue to try to expand our financial support, we have slowly been able to chip away a small percentage of these expenses,” he said. “This outside support also allows us to purchase such simple things like water bottles, bench towels, stick and equipment tape, practice jerseys, and so on.”
Financial support is not the only perk of receiving support from the surrounding area. As the team grows, so does their fanbase and system of contacts.
“Coaching and managing the hockey team has obviously provided the opportunity to connect with individuals from various offices on campus that, otherwise, I may have had only limited contact with,” Glover said. “The hockey community is unique in that its players and families really do have an unspoken bond unlike anything I have experienced in other sports. Yes, other sports communities share a connection or bond that should not be undermined but, still, there is something different that I have experienced within the hockey community that I can’t quite place my finger on.”
In addition, the team as a whole has a much busier season than in years past, with a grand total of 25 games scheduled between now and March, including the two games that have already been played. This is both a challenge and an accomplishment for the team.
“To my knowledge, we have scheduled the most games that Gannon hockey has ever played in one season,” Glover said. “Any coach of any athletic team likely shares the same concern: injuries. Naturally, the more games you play, the more chances there are for a player to be injured. A close second concern is fatigue. Can the guys handle two or even three games a weekend?”
Despite these concerns, the hockey team is ready and excited for the season ahead. For a full, up-to-date schedule, visit the team’s Facebook page by searching “Gannon University Club Hockey.” Go Knights!