NORTHFIELD, Vt. (WCAX) The cancellation of the NCAA Division three hockey tournaments hit particularly hard in our region. Both the Plattsburgh and Middlebury women were scheduled to host quarterfinal games on March 14th, while the Norwich women were set to visit the Cardinals and the Cadet men were set to host a quarterfinal the following week .
"It was heartbreaking I would say," said Tom Aubrun, a senior goalie for the men's team. "We didn't expect that it was gonna finish this way I guess."
The Norwich women even have the odd distinction of playing in one of the last NCAA sanctioned events of the year, downing Amherst in a first round game in an empty arena the day before the tournament was canceled .
"Yeah it was definitely really weird because especially playoff games, they're packed," said Amanda Conway, the leading scorer in women's program history at Norwich. "We had late practice because we had the game the day before and our trainer came on to the bench. I looked over at Sophie and was like, 'This isn't good, they're definitely canceling it.'"
But in Northfield, the unceremonious end of the season came with a silver lining as men's head coach Cam Ellsworth was named national coach of the year...and both men's goalie Tom Aubrun and women's forward Amanda Conway earned national player of the year awards.
"It's a great award, a lot of great players who went on to play in the NHL got it so it's great to be added to this list," Aubrun said.
It is especially tough for both Aubrun and Conway as seniors to not get one last shot at a title...but the national championship rings from their freshmen and sophomore years respectively probably help .
"Yeah I think that's like a part of why I wasn't as sad as I probably would have been if I didn't win a national championship and it's not like it was in our hands," Conway said.
For Aubrun the next step is to try and latch onto a pro team, but that's a little hard with those leagues all shut down as well .
"We can't skate though, all the rinks are closed," he said. "But yeah we're doing our best to stay in shape. The Hockey world is at a stop right now so we just have to wait and not really worry about it. "
And though it's tough to not get to finish with their teammates, both players can take great pride in their careers at Norwich.
"I think its a lot to look back on but I'm like happy and proud that I picked this school," Conway said. "I think I fit really well here and I'm just really happy that I got to experience everything with these girls."