By Nick Bravos
Minnesota’s favorite pastime is underway!
The Saint Mary’s University men’s hockey team recently completed tryouts as they prepare for their season opener on Saturday, Oct. 30 against Augsburg college.
Along with the eight seniors who graduated from last year’s team, there were some more cuts made last year based on attitude. “We got rid of some players with poor character and work ethic – on and off the ice,” SMU coach Bill Moore said. “In the last four years, the Cardinals have been the most penalized team in the conference.”
Coming into the 2010-11 season, Moore recruited more than 50 freshmen to help fill the varsity and JV spots. Like the varsity team, the JV roster consists of 26 players. The JV team was started in 1984, “to develop talent for the varsity team,” Moore said. “It’s easy to provide ice time because we have our own facility, and we can allow 26 more players to experience college hockey.”
Not all of the recruited freshmen are straight out of high school. “Hockey is different – we have many 20 or 21-year-old freshmen from junior programs,” Moore said. “Their age is why we believe they can make a difference quickly.”
Coming off a tough season where the Cardinals went 1-23-1, this year’s team is looking to come back stronger than ever.
“We know we’re having a difficult time, but we made some significant steps to be a playoff contender and conference champs,” Moore said.
Moore is also adamant that his remaining upperclassmen be strong role models for a large number of new players. Two junior captains and two senior alternate captains will look to lead the way.
One of those captains is junior Tom Healy. Healy is positive that his varsity returnees can still pull their weight. “Even though we lost many upperclassmen, we have a good amount of returners who have been entrusted with the majority of the playing responsibilities in their underclassman years,” said Healy.