PETE PAGUAGA — Sports Editor
Four years ago, when I first arrived at the Southern Connecticut State University campus, other than the Division II programs, the men’s rugby team was the “it” team.
Everyday I would see them selling t-shirts with the skull and crossbones on it, all across campus.
Practically every male freshman thought about joining—and even tried out for—the men’s rugby team and if you didn’t play for the team, you certainly went to their home games. They were everywhere on campus.
Now, four short four years later, that has all changed. I am not saying the men’s rugby team is irrelevant—just last year they went to the Division I National Tournament.
It seems the winds have been blowing in a different direction recently, and with the leadership of Joe Innamorato and Matt D’Amato, along with other players, the ice hockey club has become a staple at Southern.
They are now everywhere. Anywhere you look you would see flyers for the next home game, t-shirts being sold at least once or twice during the week. The team has set up shuttles through Student Life to home games or tournaments and they just participated in the national tournament at the beginning of March.
Maybe it’s the success of the team that has given the students at Southern a fever for hockey, or maybe it’s their catchy t-shirts that say “Nice Skates, Wanna Puck?”
Maybe it’s just the Facebook group they have where they have posted their schedule and roster, (which are impossible to find on the Southern club website).
They even made a Twitter account—though they’re still not following me—that keeps fans up to date on time changes and gives real-time updates during games.
Let me tell you, they love every minute of getting you, the fans, to come to their games. They love being interviewed after games, even though they all spoke with a sad attempt at a Canadian accent.
They aren’t students who play for scholarships; they didn’t only come to Southern to play hockey. Along with playing hockey, they are full-time students that didn’t have mandatory study hall like the varsity athletes. Most of them even have a job or two on the side.
So last month when they went to Nationals, even though they didn’t make it out of pool play, it was great to see all of their hard work come together.
The hockey team brings together a lot of different types of students across our campus, whether they are student leaders, athletes, Greeks or the average everyday student.
Would I say that they are the only team/club team with school spirit? Maybe, maybe not. But I can tell you one thing: in my four years at this school and my year and a half of being sports editor at this paper, I have enjoyed covering them very much.