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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Club ice hockey teams rebuild

The women’s club ice hockey team poses on the ice. (Photo courtesy of Lily Hooghuis ’26)

The men’s and women’s club ice hockey teams are both rebuilding their rosters after COVID-19 and a lack of financial support from Student Government stalled the former championship-winning teams.

One of the central figures on the men’s side is junior defender and club treasurer Michael Martirano. Martirano’s hockey journey began when he was seven. He quickly became obsessed with the sport.

“I love competition, and I love skating,” Martirano said. “I was not a highlight reel player, but if you put me on the ice you knew what you were getting. You put me on the ice when you needed a penalty killed.” 

It’s that same hard-working mentality that Martirano hopes to utilize in the team’s revival. 

“To stop would kill me,” Martirano said. “I know how much work there is to do. I’m ready to go. I believe it’s going to happen, and I’ll do everything I can to make it happen.”

According to Martirano, there is reason to be optimistic. The team’s head coach Steffan Kollevol, who has been with the team for five years, is sticking with it in spite of its recent inability to fill a roster.

“He’s here to stay,” Martirano said. “That’s the challenging part, finding a coach who is willing to do that … it’s the biggest thing we have going for us.”

Martirano is encouraged by the club’s success in recruiting players from the class of 2027.

“We had twelve to fourteen people show genuine interest,” Martirano said. “Now we’ve got at least fourteen guys with equipment on campus. You can play a game with that.”

Martirano admits the road ahead will not be easy, especially considering the recent difficulty for clubs to secure funding.

“[We’re] going to end up spending $30,000 for 20 people. It’s a little harder to swing that, especially with it being a rebuilding year,” Martirano said.

Despite these challenges, Martirano and the men’s hockey team believe they can rebuild the team to not only be on the ice next season, but for the greater future.

“Right now, it’s just about making sure the guys stick together, building a little bit of unity, so that come next year we’re ready to go,” Martirano said. “We’re trying to keep it alive and give the next guys a chance. The end goal for us is to be competitive again, but it’s about finding that balance.”

The women’s ice hockey team is contending with similar issues this year. The team will be able to play its season, but according to sophomore winger and team captain Lily Hooghuis, this is only possible by exhausting the team’s reserve funds. 

“If we get the same or even a similar budget next year, we won’t be able to run on that,” Hooghuis said. “And we won’t have those reserve funds to use.”

Despite these challenges, Hooghuis remains committed to rebuilding the identity of women’s ice hockey both on and off the ice. 

“We have a good forechecking foundation, but I want to build up our defense and make sure we have that going as well,” Hooghuis said. “A team is nothing without its defense.”

Hooghuis also believes the incoming class will provide them with the players they need to move forward. This fall’s involvement fair has helped the team fill many key positional holes.

“We have no seniors because of the Covid year, so we were really hoping that the incoming class would be interested and get involved,” Hooghuis said. “Half our team is going to be freshmen.”

Beyond the ice, Hooghuis is hoping to rebuild the team culture that welcomed her as a first-year.

“We’re just an inclusive environment,” Hooghuis said. “I felt that when I came in as a freshman. I hope to have all the freshmen this year feel that as well.”

The women’s team will take the ice for its first practice of the year next Wednesday.

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About the Contributor
Martin Familetti
Martin Familetti, Staff Sports Writer
Come On You Spurs.

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  • C

    Coach WheatleyDec 17, 2023 at 11:36 pm

    Whatever happened to the Lafayette Men’s Ice Hockey Club?