The women’s club ice hockey team lost their first game of the 2017-2018 season to SUNY Oswego on Sunday Oct. 22, but the team is much more than wins and losses. They are greater than their record, and in that way, they are hockey in its purest sense.
The Geneseo Bears are one of the youngest organizations on campus, but one that continues to grow every year.
“I think this is the biggest team we’ve had since my freshman year,” junior forward Marie Henning said. “We are really focusing on getting our name out there around campus.”
Henning says that team bonding is a huge focus this year.
“The stronger our team bond, the better it looks for us around the school … Outside of practice we’re all trying to do things like go to the varsity games on the weekends,” she said.
With the team bonding and setting high fundraising goals, the wins will start to roll in. The Bears have their next game against Oswego on Feb. 24 circled on their schedule.
“Coming off that tough loss, we’re definitely looking to get them back next semester,” Henning said. “That being said, no team is taken lightly. We’re always looking to get as many wins as we can.”
Since the program is young, coaching is an essential aspect to sustained success. The Bears have strong coaching in the form of some men’s club ice hockey players.
“The [men’s] club team has shown so much dedication in the first few weeks of practice,” Henning said. “It’s great having coaches who care and want to succeed as much as we do.”
Coaching, for young programs, is as important as the players on the ice. A strong, knowledgeable coaching staff acts as the glue holding the program together.
“We work hard and have fun every single week,” junior coach Joe Becker said, “And watching our team improve and hopefully win some games this year … it’s an awesome feeling and a testament to how hard everyone works.”
Ice hockey is a unique sport in that there is one huge hurdle that prohibits athletes from being able to simply “pick it up,” like we see sometimes in football and basketball—knowing how to skate.
If you can’t skate, you can’t play, which sometimes makes the hockey community at any given school relatively small. All the women on this team consider themselves lucky to have such a strong program at Geneseo.
“I think I speak for everyone when I say we’re just happy to be able to skate in college,” Henning said. “We all share a passion for the sport, and that’s evident every time we’re together … and that’s on or off the ice.”
It is clear that the Geneseo Bears organization is in good hands. With a strong core and able coaching staff, they are on their way to successful future seasons.
As the organization continues to grow, the talent pool becomes bigger, and the team continues to win as they have in the past. Student-run organizations are always rewarding in and of themselves. They give the players an opportunity to do things their own way.
“We get better every day,” Becker said. “Every time we hit the ice we improve, and that’s what’s important at this level.”
With strong advertisements around campus, the women have been filling the rink with friends and fans who come to show support.
The Bears will play at the Ira S. Wilson ice rink on Nov. 19, against Ithaca College at 1 p.m.u