Ice Hockey Looks for Inclusive, Competitive Direction

Sarah Kahl

Last Saturday, Oberlin’s club ice hockey team, the Plague, played against a local hockey team, the Stampede, on the North Park Ice Rink. Although well-matched, the Stampede came out on top in the end.

Oberlin led in the early going, before giving up the lead in the middle of the game.

“They just kept being strong towards the end, and that’s usually when we loosen up,” said junior captain Peter Arden. “Overall, we’re here to have a good time while playing.”

On the defensive side, senior defensewoman Jessica Mikenas pulled the team together with some important saves throughout the game, while sophomore goalie Manon Hume made several saves against the aggressive Stampede offense.

Forwards skated hard for some important goals. Sophomores Ty Wagner, Brandon McKenna and junior Hannah Golay worked together to try to overcome the Stampede’s imposing defense.

First-year Matt Simon also scored a goal, and was aggressive the entire game, especially impressive for someone with little experience.

The hockey team practices once a week during the offseason and twice a week in season, along with games they play. They make a 10-minute commute to the rink where they practice. Players range from having no experience in sports to being former varsity lacrosse players. The team is open to all.

“The hockey program here is great because there really aren’t any other places anywhere that a person who has never or barely played hockey to pick up the game for free,” said Wagner. “Its amazing that we have all the equipment and that kids are getting exposed to the greatest sport on earth again, for free. I hope that continues to be true and the program can grow in its own small way.”

The team has a competitive vibe, even though it has athletes with varying levels of experience. “We want to set the stage for what we can get done and show people what we can do, while also having fun in the game and enjoying ourselves,” said Arden.

Something the hockey team is careful about is safety. Checking, for the most part, isn’t allowed since they have so many varsity athletes, as well as people that don’t know how to check.

“We see ourselves more as a good natured, safe team,” Arden said. “Too many possible injuries can come from checking,” he said. Being a club sport, it’s important to make sure everyone can be safe on the ice.

“I really love the dynamic that we have. Not only are we co-ed, but we have people that maybe started in high school and just want to have a good time,” Arden added. “The direction we’re going in is more inclusive; we welcome serious varsity athletes, but we love people that join and haven’t really played before either. That’s the beauty of club sports.”

The team looks forward to playing more club teams, like Ohio Northern University, during the rest of their season, which runs until March.