The Oswego State men’s club hockey team will play their home opener on Saturday, Oct. 16 at 1 p.m. against Syracuse University. After one-goal losses in each of their first two road games, the team is eager to win their first game at the Campus Center Ice Arena this season.
According to coach Jay Peacock, both losses this past weekend should have been wins.
"We had it, we just didn’t have enough experience playing together, and it really hurt us when it came down to crunch time," Peacock said.
Despite being a talented and competitive Division I team in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA), the Oswego State men’s club hockey team often gets cast in the shadow of the varsity squad.
"That goes with the territory," Peacock said. "The goals of [the varsity] team are a lot different than the goals of my team. We would not be here if it were not for [the varsity] team."
Peacock continued on to explain how ,with the improvement of the varsity program, the club program also gets better.
"We do everything we can to support their program," Peacock said.
The relationship between the two teams is a symbiotic one. Although the club players will always long for more convenient ice times, it is the nature of the situation for them to build off the benefits of having the varsity team. The club team is highly competitive. Roughly 60 players tried out for the team and 33 were kept, cutting the tryout number nearly in half while keeping a very large roster of players. However, the two teams are still at much different levels of play.
"None of the kids who have played here have ever gone on to play in the pros," Peacock said.
Although it is every young hockey player’s dream to go on and play for their favorite NHL team, at this point the players of the club team know that this scenario is unlikely for them. The team plays not only for competition but just for fun and the love of the game.
"I love it, it’s a lot of fun," senior Brad Kervin said. "It’s relaxed, but it’s also really serious at the same time. It gives everybody the freedom to work on their school work but also to have fun with hockey and have fun with all the guys here."
In some cases, club players have tried out for the varsity team unsuccessfully and were glad that that it happened that way. All of the players seem to be really happy to be playing for the club team and proud that they can play at a competitive level and still have fun.
Hockey, being a large part of the heart and soul of Oswego State, deserves the support of the student body at every level of play.
"The Student Association has done a tremendous job at supporting our program," Peacock said.
Although the generous funding comes from S.A., the players pay for a lot on their own as well. The team just bought new uniforms, entirely on its own. According to Peacock, the players have organized fundraisers and done a lot to support the team on their own. They even created a team website, which can be accessed by searching men’s club hockey on the Oswego website.
Kervin, playing in his last year for the Oswego State men’s club hockey team, wants to make it the most successful season possible.
"I want us to win, but I also want to have fun with it," Kervin said.
Peacock has similar hopes for the season.
"I would like to win 60 percent of our games this year, which would put us at about 15 and 10… I would like to win our league tournament," Peacock said.
If the team wins the league, they advance to nationals, which would be a great accomplishment for the program and an acknowledgment of the tremendous effort put into the team by both Peacock and the players.
"My biggest goal for these guys from freshmen right up to seniors is to have a great experience playing hockey in college and to enjoy it and to go on and have a nice career doing something they enjoy," Peacock said.
The team plays 10 games at the Campus Center Ice Arena this season. Teams included on the home schedule are the University of Rochester, Cornell University, Rochester Institute of Technology, Binghamton and Mercyhurst.