Stevenson University’s Men’s Ice Hockey team is one of the many NCAA III teams in the MAC conference each year. They have had a history of successful wins against other colleges like Neumann, Manhattanville, Wilkes, and many more. Dominick Dawes, head coach of the men’s ice hockey team, spoke about how the team successfully played during a year under strict guidelines due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Coach Dawes has been coaching here at Stevenson University since the start of the ice hockey program back in 2016. Like most situations, Covid-19 has caused a drastic change within the hockey program. “I think it has been a big change for everybody; we’ve just been trying to take it day by day,” Dawes said. Although it has been difficult, Stevenson University has been providing weekly Covid-19 tests for the students who play a sport to monitor any new cases that may appear. Stevenson has also been keeping up with testing students regularly to provide the students and staff with biweekly updates. As of March 24, out of 1,049 conclusive tests conducted, eleven students tested positive, though the school is closely monitoring these cases and following up with the students.
As the season is coming to an end, the players could still have their time together at the rink. Luckily for Stevenson, the men’s ice hockey team has been able to play more games than any other school in their division because of how well the team has been monitoring cases and following all safety guidelines. There are no fans permitted to watch the games in person, but spectators can see the games via a live stream on the internet.
Ryan Patrick who plays on the men’s team, is a junior Business Communications major at Stevenson. Patrick spoke on the team’s refreshed camaraderie this second semester since team practices were held in person once more. “Since the second semester started, through the protocols and regulations, we’ve been able to practice essentially every day, besides a few times just to be safe in some situations,” he said. Some of the protocols the team had to follow were making sure everyone wore masks at all times, getting their temperatures checked before going into the locker rooms every day, and staying within in the same groups of people they lived with.
Typically, “team bonding” was never an issue for the men’s ice hockey team, but because of Covid-19, they haven’t been able to do what they’ve typically done in the past. “It’s been tough to get on a personal level, but we’ve been able to set up Bluejeans calls and do yoga as a team, which has been pretty hilarious,” Patrick said.
Coach Dawes agreed with the bonding difficulties this past school year. “It has been a bit of a challenge,” he said, “but I think the guys have done what they can in terms of becoming a team,” Dawes added.
Stevenson won their final UCHC season game against Wilkes on Sat., April 5, with a score of 4-1. For more information on the team, such as stats, videos, and rosters, visit its website here.