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The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Women's Hockey comfortable living life on the ice

By Daniel Kerwin

As the women’s hockey team was preparing to head off to its game Tuesday night, it felt like there was something missing. All the players were in the vans, all the equipment was loaded and the captains were ready to pump up the music once the vans set off. But no one was showing any pre-game nervousness. This is an unusual level of comfort considering that a large portion of the team only started playing ice hockey a month ago. When you’re playing Macalester women’s hockey, there really isn’t anything to be nervous about. From now until the end of the season there will be almost four times as many games as practices, there’s no need to worry about making the playoffs since they are held during spring break, and there are no prerequisites required to join the team. If you have a passion for hockey, you’ll be fine.

“Hockey is the kind of sport you can quickly become obsessed about,” Coach Meg Duhr-Schultz ’03 said. “You have to be into it to come to Apple Valley at 10:00 on a Tuesday night for a game.”

Not only are the players developing an obsession for hockey, they’re actually getting quite good. The team moved up a division from last year, moving from C3, the lowest division, to the C2 division of the Women’s Hockey Association of Minnesota (WHAM). The team celebrated their promotion with an Oct. 21 5-0 shut-out of Carleton, with Katharine Hall ’08 scoring a hat-trick. The goalie, Charlotte Fagan ’11, had never played a hockey game before.

“It’s always nice having a shut-out in your first game ever,” Fagan said.

Before Tuesday night’s game in Apple Valley the team’s record stood at 3-4; Fagan had her second ever shutout in the game. The 2-0 win brought Macalester’s record at 4-4. So far that has the team soundly in the top half of the division.

Gaya Sarin ’11 had at least had some experience before joining the team, but coming from India, the brand of hockey she’s used to is played on a field.

“Before coming here I’d never seen an ice skating rink,” Sarin said. “Once you get used to the skating, it’s not bad at all.”
“You’re ahead of the curve if you’ve skated a couple of times before you get out there for the first practice,” Lauren Morse ’08 said.

Despite the large degree of inexperience on the team, a core of senior team members guides their younger peers.

“There’s a good mix, there are seniors who’ve played all four years and players who’ve played five times in their lives,” Duhr-Schultz said. “Some of the newer players can learn a lot from the seniors.”

With the seniors all in their final season, it’s no surprise that the team is currently largely comprised of inexperienced, yet rising stars.

“At the org fair we kind of force people, attack people, and when they come we get them to bring their friends. They’re roped in,” Erica Schultz ’08 said.

As the team’s co-captains, Morse and Hall pretty much run the team, from recruiting the next generation to arranging practices and games.

“I spend more time doing hockey than doing homework,” said Morse, who is only a part time student this semester. “I never thought I’d go to college and play hockey, and now it’s like my life.”

As good captains do, Hall and Morse also help create a welcoming social atmosphere and feeling of camaraderie on the team. The team is usually pretty close, with upperclassmen players having ‘hockey houses’ each year. Hall also makes time for the team to do hockey related activities off the ice.

“We watch the Mighty Ducks together and go to the Mickey’s Diner in St. Paul from the movie,” Hall said.

Hall and Morse are also planning a game against the faculty. Last year, team members walked around campus with their sticks to convince faculty to play in the game.

One thing the co-captains haven’t been able to do is reel in large crowds to their games so far. The team’s schedule is all over the place, making it hard for the team to form a consistent fan base, but still, their crowds usually pale in comparison to the men’s hockey team, even though the women’s team has been around longer.

The team was started in the fall of 2002 by Jane Ring ’63, who provided the original funding for the team. She took the first players on a special shopping trip to provide the first equipment for the team, and basically used to run the team herself.

“In the beginning I got all their ice booked, paid the referees and got the schedule. Now they do it all. I try to support them a little bit, but I’m not as involved as I used to be,” Ring said.

Ring, who came to Macalester during her thirties, and her daughter, a 1973 Mac grad, were two of the first five inductees to the WHAM hall of fame, and her daughter is also in the University of Minnesota hall of fame. Ring was enthusiastic to establish the women’s hockey team as a varsity sport at Macalester, something all MIAC schools besides Mac and Carleton have, but it never materialized. Ring also proposed the creation of an outside rink to be flooded in the winter, but the probability of the project flooding school buildings put this to a halt.

“I tried to get them to make it a varsity team, but it just was never going to be,” Ring said. “Macalester has a little different feel. They like to have people take part in different activities.”

Right now, it doesn’t matter to the players that hockey’s just a club sport. The players still leave it all out on the ice, do their patented belly slide after they win (see sports banner), and most of all, they’re all about having fun.

Having a large crowd would make it all the better. This can become a reality tonight, with the team’s first Friday night home game taking place at Highland Arena at 8:00.

“It would be awesome if we got a large turnout on Friday,” Hall said. “I know a lot of people play better when their friends or family are watching, I know I do.

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