Cadets hope to play this season - Part 1

The Norwich men’s hockey team still hoping to have some sort of season this winter.
Published: Nov. 17, 2020 at 8:54 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - In a typical year, most of our region’s college hockey programs would be well into the first part of their seasons. That certainly isn’t the case now. UVM is pushing back the start of its hockey seasons to next month, while Dartmouth, Middlebury and Plattsburgh won’t be playing hockey this winter.

One school still with hopes of hitting the ice this winter is Norwich. The Norwich men’s hockey team held a Maroon and Gold scrimmage this past weekend at Kreitzberg that was livestreamed so fans could see the team in action.

Norwich head coach Cam Ellsworth said the team has been able to play a couple of scrimmages this fall, a reward for the work the team has put in this semester. Norwich plays in the New England Hockey Conference, of which Castleton is also a member. While conferences like the NESCAC and SUNYAC have made decisions not to play hockey this winter, the NEHC has yet to make a call. Ellsworth says conference officials are meeting this week, so decisions could be forthcoming, but even if the NEHC comes to the conclusion that a full conference scheduled is not possible, or if individual schools choose to sit the season out, his focus and hope remains on finding some way to play this winter.

“I know that there are NEHC teams that want to play, including us. Obviously, safety is the number one priority. If we can do that safely, we want to play.”, says Ellsworth. “From what I understand, there will be teams will be taking the year off this year, but I do know that our school, our president, our athletic director, our administration has supported our want to safely play if we can.”

The Norwich men were one of the team’s that felt the biggest sting when the college hockey season was canceled this past March when the pandemic first hit the U-S. The Cadets were national title contenders...maybe the favorites. 24-2-2, ranked first in the nation and had just rolled to the NEHC championship, winning the three conference tournament games by a combined score of 17-0.

Ellsworth says the sting of missing out on that opportunity still lingers, in part, because as of yet, there is not a new season to look forward to.

“There’s still that hollow feeling from last year, being on such a roll and really being part of one of an elite group of teams that I’ve ever been a part of.”, says Ellsworth. “And for that to come to such a finality, we’re going on 8-9 months of doing this and still, there’s that emptiness. We were on a pretty good tear last year and when it came down, there’s still something hollow in there that we haven’t been able to move forward yet.”

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