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Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Eagles on ice: building a club at the rink

Club Hockey creates a family for everyone

From the Newsstands: This story appeared in The Eagle's April 2024 print edition. You can find the digital version here

On cold Wednesday nights, the Cabin John Ice Rink in Potomac, Maryland is home to American University’s club ice hockey team. 

Without a Division I hockey program, the members of the club hockey team create a culture students can’t find elsewhere on campus. Senior captain Connor Cain described the team as very close-knit; a family who spends time together on and off the ice.

“We’ll go out to a restaurant,” Cain said. “Me and my roommate are both on the team together, so we’ll host something at our apartment once a week or so.” 

Cain said that when he was applying for colleges, finding a school with club hockey was important. Without a DI hockey team at American, students may struggle to find a place where they can express their love for the game. 

“Having that culture, having that community where I can have friends outside of classes; I had a structured place where I could make friends and build a community on campus,” Cain said. 

Sophomore co-captain Brooklyn Spathies has been on the team for two years and, like Cain, appreciates the community. 

“We have a good time, there’s no hard issues. We’re like a family,” Spathies said. “We always have a good time in away tournaments and even just here.” 

The Eagles play along the East Coast against schools in Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia. During the regular season, the team took four road trips. 

Now, entering the playoffs for the first time in three years, the Eagles prepare to face teams in the ACCHL Division III Tournament. 

The team’s success this season has largely been thanks to their line. Cain, freshman Miles Frasca and senior Joe Fareed have become the top-scoring line in program history, showcasing the team’s continual growth. 

Nonetheless, there is certainly room for beginners. This year, junior Connor Wall joined the team and was new to hockey, but still “got full minutes and had a couple goals,” Frasca said. 

The team practices once a week, making participation low commitment. The biggest obstacle for newcomers is price. Each member of the team pays dues, but Cain says if cost is an issue, the club will work to help anyone play. 

“We don’t want cost to be a barrier for playing hockey,” Cain said. 

As the program grows, each player has their hopes for the team. Cain hopes the club’s campus presence will increase. 

“Not many people know we have a hockey team on campus. The people who do come to the games say they love it,” Cain said. “I think it will also bring in some more opportunities to again, reduce the cost and build the program out a little bit.” 

“We’re growing the program,” Frasca said. “We should make a championship run in the next few years.” 

Despite holding a wide range of hopes for upcoming seasons, each team member agreed: the club is like a family. 

Freshman Lev Belopolsky agreed: “It’s nice to come to school and have someone who will throw punches for you. Literally.” 

This article was edited by Penelope Jennings, Delaney Hoke and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Luna Jinks, Isabelle Kravis and Liah Argiropoulos. 

Editor’s note: This podcast discusses topics like suicide, sexual abuse and violence.

In this episode of Couch Potatoes, hosts Sydney Hsu and Sara Winick talk about shows that are created to elicit an emotion response from viewers. Listen along as they discuss past and current trends within media, and how they have affected audiences.

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