By: Taylor Bradford ’19
Ice hockey’s fall season has come and gone and the club team will not be returning to the ice until next season, as was decided over winter break by Athletic Director Jon Tymann.
The final five games of the club’s season have been cancelled due to the lack of players available to the team.
Assistant Coach Joe Iriana, an alumnus of the College, said, “We were primarily concerned with our ability to be competitive in the second half with a very minimal roster.”
By the end of their fall season, it was evident to the team that they would have to scramble for players. Seven of their athletes also play a varsity sport, meaning that they would have to leave the team come Jan. 18 to begin pre-season.
When Tymann, the varsity ice hockey club’s advisor, sat down with the coaching staff at the beginning of the year, it was made clear to the coaches that in order to have a full season, the team would need to be able to sustain itself without the varsity sports — as opposed to club — athletes, Tymann said in an interview with the Tartan. When the season actually began, however, the roster had gotten smaller and the team was relying more and more on the varsity athletes.
The Scots worked to recruit athletes from other varsity sports without conflicting schedules, including two soccer players.
When winter break rolled around, Tymann did not think the team was in a good position to “pull off these five games in a safe manner.”
In addition to a shortened season, the team also is losing Paul D’Ambra, who will not be returning as Head Coach.
“We [Tymann and D’Ambra] came to a mutual agreement that he had done a great job in helping us transition for this year, but we will be looking for a more seasoned coaching veteran for next year,” Tymann explained.
D’Ambra’s past coaching experience was limited, but he had passion for the game and heart for the team.
D’Ambra committed a lot to the program, saying, “I had nothing in this for myself. This was, for me, putting myself for the college, for the students, for the program. I had nothing that I was asking for for myself. I put time, money, energy, my family’s commitment into this.”
“Coach Paul was wonderful with the time and energy he put into the program. His sacrificial giving: he was a volunteer coach, he got paid nothing putting in his time and to pay for some equipment out of pocket. He did a great job,” said Tymann.
While this season was cut short, coaches and players have expressed their excitement for the future of the team and the possibilities ahead.
Many of the players, new to the intensity of collegiate level hockey, have fallen in love with the sport and look forward to building a solid team in the future.
Forward Erik Holvik ‘19 said, “I stepped foot on the ice for the first game and it was a rough start. But I slowly got the hang of it and realized that I love the sport and I love the game and I love the people on the team. It is all around a great atmosphere.”
During the off-season, the club team will be applying to move from Associate Member to Probationary Member within the Northeast Collegiate Hockey Association (NECHA). Iriana explained that this change will allow the team more privileges within the league and hopefully better placement in standings.
Iriana is confident that the combination of retaining skilled players from this past season and a new and focused attention on recruitment will ensure an improvement in the team’s overall stats.
The Scots finished their season 3-6 overall and are looking forward to returning to the ice next season with a determined and skilled team.