Today: Jun 17, 2024

New coach, new players, SCSU hockey is ready to go

Young hockey team is ready to bring home some hardware again for Southern.

Matthew CilbrithSpecial to the Southern News 

     Bob O’Brien, head coach of Southern’s hockey team, said the games will be exciting to watch this year. This is O’Brien’s first year as the head coach of the hockey team so he’s still trying to familiarize himself with players and the Southern community.

     “First I need to get to know every player individually so I can help him to maximize his potential,” said O’Brien. “This will allow us find the role for them that best suits the team.”

     There are more first year members of the team as well. The club introduced 13 new skaters to the roster this year. One of the young bloods on the team, Jimmy Wilson, a freshman from Hamden, said he is excited to help turn the team around.

     “I know last year the team went through some struggles for the most part. But this year we have a group of solid guys and I like the rebuild that has been made,” Wilson said.

     Wilson played for Hamden High School and then Southern Connecticut Hockey League, SCHL, where he’s been playing for the past two years. But when Wilson knew he was coming to Southern he was ready to join the team.

     “For the past two years I’ve played against kids on the Division I NCAA level, but I definitely stepped up my training when I wanted to make the team,” said Wilson. “Like, yea its club, but I know you still have to work for it.”

     O’Brien said he wants to work with these players to win this year, but to also build for a national championships in the future. He specifically picked a wide range of players for this years team, from play style to age. O’Brien said this particular team is very diverse and said he knows for a team to have thirteen new players is a lot, and that it’s half of the roster, but that’s what he likes about his team.

     “We have a young team and they are all willing to work very hard from what I can see,” said O’Brien. “The returning players are embracing them as part of the team. As a team we will push hard and move forward.”

     The Owls did go through a rough patch last season, when just two years ago they made it to the National Championship in Florida.

     “We were the talk of the campus two years ago,” said Shayne O’Brien, junior goaltender of the Southern hockey team. “Last year we just didn’t have a real team and we fell apart. We have 26 brothers walking the halls again.”

Young hockey team is ready to bring home some hardware again for Southern.
Young hockey team is ready to bring home some hardware again for Southern.

     O’Brien, who had three wins in seven games played last year, has been on the team for three years.  He said last year the team had players start to leave the team during the season, and they just weren’t on the same page.

     Another veteran player on the team is Evan Turek, a senior who has been on the team for four years now. Turek said he is excited about the style of play that the new coach and skaters are bringing to this team.

     “High speed, low drag,” said Turek, “that’s the team’s motto this year.  We have to be aggressive, high speed, nothing fancy, just beat them down the boards, have someone cutting in the slot, and we are going to put them in.”

     Coach O’Brien said he loved playing a very aggressive style of hockey just like Turek said.  Freshman Jimmy Wilson said he has the same excitement towards playing the coaches style of play and the attitude he brings with it.

     “I love his attitude, he’s very straight forward,” Wilson said. “If you’re doing well he will tell you, if you’re doing bad, he will tell you that too.  We have a physical team and coach wants to play an aggressive style, which really benefits me. It’s my style of hockey.”

     The three players O’Brein, Wilson, and Turek all said they were excited to work with their new coach.

     The players take the team very seriously; however, they are only at the club sport level.

    Shayne O’Brien, who has been a very active member of the team, said loves being a part of the team even though the team is only at the club sport level.

     “We are playing for straight hardware,” said O’Brien.  “We have the chance to win two trophies this year and we want to bring them home.”

     Since they are a club sport they must fund the team mostly themselves. In past years the team has been able to fund their trips to Virginia, Florida, and other places through the support of the student body and other fans.

    Selling t-shirts and other club merchandise has been a good way to not only fund the team but also spread the knowledge of the team around campus with students wearing the merchandise.

     The players said they want to get the students involved, and how they really want to pack the rinks that they play in with Southern students.

    Wilson said he thinks it’s just a lack of knowledge around campus about the team.

     “If people know about us and our games, it will blow up,” said Wilson.

     Shayne O’Brien and Turek said they have both been working on getting student buses and vans set up to bring students to and from games, especially for the opening night game on Oct. 25 at the Louis Astorino in Hamden.

    Turek said there is nothing more that drives the team than the support of the students, and he had a message for the students.

     “Let’s pack this freaking place this year boys,” Turek said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Latest from Blog

Don't Miss

Volleyball wins two straight

Luke Gadson – Sports Editor The Owls fought hard for a 3-1

Student leaders discuss campus involvement

Solé Scott- Features Editor The university strives for student leaders to get