The St. Olaf club hockey team wasted no time scoring an opening goal against Carleton, and it took them even less time to return to the back of the net. The goals came fast and often for the Oles as they hammered their cross town rivals 14-2 in front of a raucous crowd at the St. Olaf Ice Arena on Feb. 19.
It was revitalizing for our team just to see how many people came out. After that I was more fired up, just ready to go to practice and get back together before our next game against Stout,” said Matthew Conroy ’25.
The team had spent the past few weeks preparing for Carleton and were a little surprised at how lopsided the game became.
“A lot of times with club sports you have no idea what level the other team is going to be at. Like in this case, we did not know that Carleton was going to be this inexperienced,” said Arzu Pahl ’24.
Nonetheless, the club was still able to gain valuable experience on the ice as they developed chemistry playing with each other and putting on a show for the crowd.
The club competes as a co-ed team which has made it difficult to find teams to play against. The women on the team have grown up playing non-checking hockey and are still adapting to the physicality of playing men’s and mixed teams. However, the women are not backing down as they learn how to navigate a more physical style of hockey.
“I always tell the team to be physical, be physical, practice being physical,” Pahl said.
The team has worked on helping the women become more comfortable with checking in practice and the results certainly showed against Carleton as the women stood their ground against the all-men Carleton team.
Besides integrating men’s and women’s hockey, the club is still balancing the different skill levels of each player. There are players ranging from beginners who are just trying out hockey to former varsity players, as well as players who have competed at the Juniors level.
“It’s still difficult to know what we are going to be like out there because everyone is coming from their own background of hockey. They have their own plays and stuff that they are working with,” said Paul Moris ’24. The competitive imbalance against Carleton made it difficult for the club to figure out the correct balance of play styles, but they are excited to continue growing as a team as they prepare for their next game.
The club will be back in action on March 4 when they take on University of Wisconsin-Stout at the St. Olaf Ice Arena at 6 p.m. The club hopes to have the same home support as they did for their last game and are grateful for the excitement the student body has generated around the club.
They would like to remind students to be responsible at the games, as the club is liable for any damages caused by spectators. The club is forced to charge attendance for their games in order to cover the cost of any liability and they hope this will change in the future if students remain responsible. If you are interested in joining the team please contact Siri Lindell ’23, Bekki Antonelli ’22, or Pahl.