For the Northern Kentucky University Club Hockey Team, their first season was a successful one. The team finished with a record of 14-10. Although the record isn’t overly impressive, the team is thrilled with their results.
Seven out of their 10 losses were against some of the top teams in the country. The Norse began its inaugural season in Lexington, Ky., against the University of Kentucky Wildcats.
Surprisingly, the Norse kept the game close until the Wildcats exploded with a barrage of goals in the second period. The Norse ended up losing by a score of 8-1.
Their next two games would be against the eventual Division III American Collegiate Hockey Association National Champions, the Wright State University Raiders. The Norse was walloped in both of those games, losing 15-0 and 9-1 respectively.
The Norse was then swept in a two game series by Division III powerhouse University of Southern Indiana.
After starting the season 0-5, the Norse went on a tear, winning 14 out of their last 19 games.
Some of the teams they defeated included Eastern Kentucky University, Xavier University, University of Cincinnati, Indiana University/Purdue University at Indianapolis, Denison University and Wittenberg University.
The team had a strong student following, as well. The attendance averaged more than 150 people per game. When the Northern Kentucky Ice Center was full, it made for an electric atmosphere, giving the Norse a strong home-ice advantage.
“It was great because the students were constantly cheering and they would get in the heads of the opposing team,” said team captain Scott Hicks. “It made for a great place to play hockey.”
Although the competition was tough, the learning experience was even better. The team was lucky enough to have one of the top hockey coaches in the area lead them. Coach Andy Pokupec has extensive hockey experience. Pokupec played college hockey at University of Alaska-Fairbanks. He previously coached the hockey team at Archbishop Moeller High School in Cincinnati.
The future remains bright for the club hockey team as the Norse should be returning the majority of their team from this season, including star player Scott Hicks and leading scorer Justin Barr.
The Norse begin their 2006/2007 season against Vanderbilt University Sept. 22 at 10 p.m. at the Northern Kentucky Ice Center. The schedule this season includes teams such as UC, Wright State, Xavier, Southern Indiana University, Ohio Wesleyan University, Denison, Lincoln Land Community College, Middle Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee Volunteers.
If you would are interested in playing for the club hockey team or helping out for the upcoming season, e-mail Hicks at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out www.nkuhockey.com for more information.