The Stevenson University women’s ice hockey team is waiting for their new season to start. After a successful 2015-16 campaign, making it all the way to the Colonial Hockey Conference Championship, the team is ready to make it to the top yet again.
“It was an exciting year for us last year. I really think that our team is going to embrace the hard work that it takes to continue to build off of the success that we’ve had,” said head coach Tracy Johnson. The team has been working hard, and she is excited to get on the ice with them. There are a few new additions to the team for the ‘16-17 season, and Johnson is pleased to see how the incoming class merges with the current group and looks forward to their development on the ice. As far as the returning athletes, Johnson is eager to see how they have improved from last year.
During the off-season, team members are in charge of their own conditioning regimen, while Stevenson’s strength and conditioning coach usually gets the team in shape for the season. Johnson and her assistants work with the team when the season officially starts. Since ice hockey is a unique sport, different skills are necessary while the coach evaluates her team. Johnson said she looks for hard-working team members with positive attitudes.
The team’s first game is Oct. 28, at Neumann University vs. UMass Boston. The first home game at the Reisterstown Sportsplex will be Nov. 18, and the Mustangs will face Endicott College. The new men’s ice hockey team will also play that day, so the double header should attract a lot of attention.
Johnson is excited about the UMass Boston game and also looks forward to playing Endicott College, their biggest rival in the conference. She anticipates a good game against Middlebury College, a team consistently in the top 10, believing that the Mustangs are ready to take on these nationally competitive teams. Neumann University is another squad that the Stevenson women see very often, based on proximity.
For the 2017-18 season, the team will join the newly created United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC). Stevenson will join Chatham University, Elmira College, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, King’s College, Lebanon Valley College, Manhattanville College, Neumann University and Utica College to comprise of the 10-team conferences. The conference also includes Nazareth College’s men’s ice hockey team and teams from Wilkes University will join in 2018-19.
Overall, this year’s team is committed to success. They are pushing each other to be better in every game, and Johnson said, “They are improving academically, athletically, and as human beings every day.” She expects this to be one of their best seasons yet.