Home sport Ice Hockey Building Momentum on Campus – Villanovan

Ice Hockey Building Momentum on Campus – Villanovan

Ice Hockey Building Momentum on Campus – Villanovan

At one time or another while going to school at Villanova, most sports fans come across a common question: “Why doesn't Villanova have an ice hockey team?”

To answer this question, it is important to note that Villanova has a hockey team. Two, actually. However, Villanova's men's and women's ice hockey teams are considered club teams and therefore are not part of the 24 announced varsity sports.

In fact, this is a common topic for most schools across the country, as the NCAA has 253 ice hockey teams located mainly in the Upper Northeast and Midwest regions. By comparison, in the American Collegiate Hockey Association, where club teams compete, there are more than 450 ice hockey programs.

As for whether Villanova's ice hockey teams feel excluded by their non-NCAA status, some athletes say they enjoy being club teams rather than college teams.

“I think we all love being a team,” WICE co-president and forward Austin Elvikrug said. “We love to play the sport we love competitively, but that's not our entire life. We'd like to have other outlets and experiences at Villanova.

Instead of struggling to live up to that level, athletes want to break the stigma surrounding playing at club level.

“In terms of growing the team, I think we're all pretty comfortable with our schedule right now,” said WICE co-president and forward MK Rusnock. “We're all balancing a lot of things. A lot of these girls on the team are so talented that they could have been D-3, maybe even D-1. But that's not really the lifestyle we wanted. So, we think that esports The clubs are a breakthrough into being an athlete and not letting that part of yourself go as an athlete, but being a college student at the same time.

As of now, the women's team plays in the D-2 Delaware Valley College Hockey Conference (DVCHC) Division, where they are ranked first in the Southeast Region, with a 13-2-2 record.

Leading the team in goals and assists this season is forward Camryn Brown, who has so far scored 22 goals and made 16 assists. Freshman forward Elise Payne, the second-leading scorer, proves how underclassmen make their mark. Payne has already scored 20 goals and made 12 assists this season.

In its final home game of the season on Sunday, the team defeated Wake Forest University, 6-1. This coming weekend, the Wildcats look to make history as they enter the playoffs.

Seniors Rusnock and Elvekrog have recent and future hopes for the team this coming weekend.

“I hope we always stay in first place,” Rusnok said. “We've never won our Division I Cup, and that's our goal this weekend. In our division, Navy and the University of Delaware are the two big teams that always win. They don't take us seriously because we were only first last year and lost to them in overtime three times.

The seniors expect the program to continue to grow in the months following their graduation from Villanova.

“The plan and hope is that we created a strong program that we rebuilt after COVID and hopefully that will continue,” Elvikrug said. “And I have no reason to think that won't happen. We have a talented group of girls and only four graduates.”

As of now, the men's club ice hockey team competes at the D-1 level in the Eastern Collegiate Hockey Association (ECHA) Division, where they sit fifth out of eight in the classification, going 15-9 so far this season.

Senior forward Matt Arena leads the team in scoring and assists this season with 15 goals and 17 assists.

The closest player to Arena's tally is rookie forward Jonathan Nawrocki, who has 11 goals and 11 assists. Among defensemen, junior Liam Tomczak has the most goals with 15 and ties Nawrocki for the most assists on the team.

Although the team's next game is on February 23 against Lehigh, the men will have to travel 30 minutes to West Chester to play their 3:30 PM game at the Ice Line.

Facilities are one of the biggest challenges facing the men's and women's ice hockey teams.

“I think it's obvious that we would like a closer arena,” Elvikrug said. “I know there's a new arena being built, and I believe in Conshohocken, and the sports clubs, and our coaches have been in touch with them, and there are hopes that this will be our rink in the future.”


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