Hockey foresees exciting new season

By Samuel Deal, Sports Editor

Beau Walker steps in for face-off against an opponent in a club hockey game.
Anna Mills
Beau Walker steps in for face-off against an opponent in a club hockey game.

Young Eastern Eagles hockey team is looking to have a bounce back season with a revitalized roster and newfound commitment to the game.

“We lost a lot of returners but brought in 12 guys. Our rookies actually outnumber our returners this year. But it is actually better: the guys are a lot hungrier, our level of competition is way high,” said team president Austin King.

King, who has been with the team for four years, believes this is the most competitive team Eastern has had in his tenure.

The Eagles are looking to move on from last season’s team, which finished tied for last with just 17 points, in the British Columbian Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL).

“Competing 60 minutes and making playoffs are our goals [to] make sure we are in the hunt at the end [of the season],” said head coach Bret Kellogg.

Eastern is the only U.S. team in the BCIHL, with the rest of the teams comprised of schools in British Columbia.

“We are playing against guys who, that’s their bread and butter. That’s what they played since they were kids, like our version of baseball and football. They have hockey, it is all they have,” said Kellogg.

The team can hold up to 26 players, and after graduating eight players last season, they were looking to revamp their roster during the summer.

The club held open tryouts Sept. 13-18,  allotting opportunities for non-recruited players to make the team.

“We have recruits from all over, so they come in and the tryouts are open. So anyone who wants to come can tryout. You get a blend of everything and pick our team from there,” said King.

With open tryouts, the team has one returning walk-on and added another this year proving that athletes who may not have been recruited can make this team.

“[This year] we’ve got a good group of guys,” said Kellogg “The passion for commitment, everybody is so committed. We are a brotherhood, and everybody is in it for each other.”

The team hopes this new commitment to each other will lead to more success on the ice and showcase the excitement of hockey for Eagle fans.

Kellogg said people should attend Eagle games at the URC because “it is a fun and exciting atmosphere. It is a place where you can come with your friends and see the game.”

King echoed his coach’s feelings and believes that watching teams in BCIHL is a great way for newcomers to get into the sport.

“[The league] is really exciting, lots of action. It is really fast paced and really physical compared to most college [hockey], and that’s why we play in an all-Canadian league.”

The Eagles opened their season on Friday night with a 4-1 loss against Simon Frazier University. The team split the weekend series with a 5-2 victory at the URC Saturday night.