Hockey on the Mountain

As far as club sports go, the Mount’s Club Ice Hockey team may be one of the less well-known. And yet, this doesn’t stand to reason because the team is comprised of talented and dedicated Mount members who have a genuine love for the sport. The hockey team’s current player count and win-loss ratio looks foreboding, but the team persists and will not give up their existence on the ice easily.

This is incredibly evident after watching the team play. Just speaking with some members of the team offered an even better look at their experiences, and what sort of role this exciting sport plays in their lives on campus.

“Hockey’s always been a sport that’s closest to me,” junior goaltender, Thomas Zappe, explained. “When I found out that we had a club team, it just seemed like the perfect fit.”

Junior forward, Michael Rempe, felt similarly. “I knew I wanted to keep playing after high school,” Rempe stated. “I didn’t really care what level it was going to be at, I just knew that playing college hockey was always a dream of mine.”

Clearly, the Mount attracts students who are dedicated to their education first, but don’t want to give up on a sport they love.

Despite the passionate players, Mount Hockey has struggled within the league in the past, winning just one game in the past three years.

This win deficit may have something to do with the declining size of the team, Rempe mentioned. Describing the team when he joined, he stated, “It was bigger, definitely bigger. There were more guys, more players.”

Much to the same point, Zappe said, “We’re always trying to get new players, so if anyone’s interested in coming out for a practice or two, they’re welcome.”

Father James Donohue, the head coach, has been with the club since its inception in 1996. Two years later, it joined a collegiate league, and by only its third year in 1999, the club had attracted 26 players and dozens of fans.

As the players explained, the 2017 team looks quite different. Donohue also noted the possibly grim future of the team. “Only two new guys last year, only two new guys this year; that’s just not sustainable,” Donohue lamented.

However, the guys take this difficulty in stride, and the players already held a team meeting to stay in the collegiate league this year, despite these clear struggles they face.

“The idea is it’s just a club sport where people who love hockey, and play it casually, can find time in between their school to enjoy the game in a competitive atmosphere, and it doesn’t get any better than college hockey. Everyone does it for fun, and we really enjoy it,” Zappe noted.

He emphasized the point that the players and coaching staff, who have stuck around through this dry spell are in it for the long haul. They play the game not for stats, but to continue to enjoy the sport.

The team has built quite a skilled roster this year. With talented freshmen added, and several graduate students staying with the program, the team has had close scores in their first two games, though they are yet to emerge with a win this season.

Both Zappe and Rempe shared some of their favorite values of the team. “Everyone plays the sport for the love of the game; I think that’s what it comes down to. We take a lot of pride in it, and being able to enjoy it, and the atmosphere of the locker room, it’s just awesome,” Zappe closed.

Rempe agreed, saying, “I found it, and I jumped into it, and I loved it. I’m sticking with it.”

So, only time will tell where the fate of the Mount’s Club Ice Hockey lies. Current Mount members, as well as incoming freshmen, who are interested in joining the team are encouraged to reach out to Donohue.

Whether it’s in a recreational league or at the current collegiate level, one thing is for certain: as long as there’s ice in the rink, these guys will keep on skating.

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