Their seasons delayed, UVM’s hockey teams look forward

The UVM men’s and women’s hockey seasons were set to begin on Friday.
Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 10:37 AM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Since the start of the school year in September, and even prior to that, the UVM men’s and women’s hockey teams have been working toward a hoped-for start of their college hockey seasons. The teams were supposed to open play this weekend, but late Sunday came the word that the University had decided to delay the start of play for it’s hockey and basketball teams to December 18th.

The UVM women’s hockey team was set to travel to Storrs, Connecticut for a two game series with UConn Friday night and Saturday afternoon. As late as last Thursday, women’s coach Jim Plumer says the team held a meeting with UVM athletic department officials about traveling to road games and the health and safety guidelines they would have to follow under the school’s return to play plan. Then, just three days later, the message changed.

“I think we did a really good job over the 2 1/2 months leading up to this point that we’ve been at school keeping them interested and motivated and not focused on how weird it is not to play games.”, says Plumer. “And then to get this close, my heart breaks for them, especially for our seniors, but really everybody had really done their job. The old coaching cliché ‘control the controllables’, they done a really good job with that.”

“I can’t even say enough about our team, our team culture, our leaders, how focused they were on just trusting us and that this is the plan and that we’re going to get you to the start date. We’ve done a lot of work physically and mentally to be ready to play, and I really trust this group. It’s a special group of kids.”

The UVM men were set to hit home ice at Gutterson Fieldhouse Friday night for the first of a two game weekend series with Connecticut. First year head coach Todd Woodcroft says that he and his staff have delivered one consistent message since the team first gathered together as a group, and he feels that message continues to ring true with this delay to the start of the season.

“From the beginning we’ve stressed that one thing is certain and it’s uncertainty. We don’t know what’s going to hit us the next day and if we’re going to have any success as a team it’s going to be about embracing that idea that we will never be comfortable.

We will have to except that grind of, daily, trying to be the best we can be, so when we talk to the players about this news it was almost like, ‘OK, what’s next? What are we going to do to continue to get better?’ “, said Woodcroft.

“We’re just going to use this as an opportunity to continue to forge this identity. That this is going to be a team going forward that will only get better excepting that all these things can happen to us at any time. It’s the exact same thing in the game. In a game the momentum can change in so many different ways. Pucks can bounce one way, you can get a couple of bad calls.”

“This is the time for the players to reveal themselves,”, added Woodcroft. “Their identity as individual players, and then even as a team and over the past couple of days, as we have practiced and as we have talked about this, I’ve been so proud of these guys, and we’re going to be four weeks more prepared when we finally get the chance to hit the ice.”

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