Men’s and women’s ice hockey: New season, new perspective

Ice Hockey season is upon us and the men’s and women’s teams are ready to take the ice and be contenders for the championship title in the MAC Freedom.

The previous ice hockey season was condensed as COVID-19 hit the world of athletics hard. This season is back to normal and teams will be able to compete in a regular season with protocols being lessened.

“Last year was exhausting and stressful,” said senior forward Donald Flynn. “This year, it is nice that things are close to normal again. We are really just cherishing the routines, really enjoying the grind again and really embracing how much we missed. The little things are some of the best steps we have taken for sure.”

“I think it will be really interesting to see how different teams handled having a covid year,” said junior defender Abigail Barcless. “I think this season will be more electric than ever due to people missing competition and playing for something.”


Last year, Wilkes went 7-4 on the season and made it to the semifinals of the United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC), losing to Stevenson University. This year, the goal is to make it to the final round and win the UCHC.

“Every night is a battle in our league,” said head coach Tyler Hynes. “Whether it is a team at the bottom of the league or Utica, it is going to be a dog fight and you cannot think it is going to be easy because we have lost plenty of times doing that.”

The team is taking a new perspective on this season as they have a more experienced and mature team, and they have one of the deepest rosters that Wilkes has ever seated in ice hockey.

“It is an exciting feeling knowing that every guy is going to impact this team at some point during the season,” said Flynn. “We will be able to roll wave after wave, night in and night out.”

The men started their season on Oct. 29 in Buffalo, N.Y. against Fredonia at the Buffalo State Bengals Classic. Wilkes won the first match on the ice 5-2, sending them to a matchup against Buffalo State where the Colonels won 2-1.

“When the lights come on and it is a real game, you never fully know what to expect,” said Hynes. “I am very happy with our response so far.”

This year marks the final year for the athletes that started the men’s ice hockey program as it was established in 2018. This is the first class to graduate from the team, making this season momentous.

“We know what to expect but we want to leave our mark here and accomplish the mission we set out four years ago,” said Flynn. “It is a very special year for everyone, especially the senior class and we are going to do everything in our power to leave the program we built with a standard of excellence that will set the bar for years to come.”

This final year for Flynn and his class hits home for Hynes as he was in their skates four years ago.

“It is tough (seeing them in their last season) but it is something that motivates me and drives me,” said Hynes. “It is a desperation that you can not really match when you have been doing and thinking about something as most of our guys have been for 20 years and at the snap of a finger, all of the sudden when someone asks you what you do, you are no longer a hockey player.”


Last year, the Colonels went 0-9 on the season and are now ranked ninth out of 11 in the UCHC season poll. This year, the women’s team is looking to prove their ranking wrong as they start game play on Nov. 5 at home.

The team is looking to make a drive in the league through seniority and maturity in the game. This season will look different for Wilkes as Shauna Tubbs and Laurenne Fraser, who played major roles on the team, graduated and their skates will have to be filled by the upperclassmen and the newcomers.

“We look a lot more experienced than we have in years before,” said head coach Earl Utter. “We are largely made up of seniors and juniors with a number of sophomores that saw significant playing time last year.”

The team has a smaller roster this year than in previous seasons but the drive to win is stronger than ever as they want to overcome their ranking in the league.

“We have quality over quantity,” said Barcless. “I think everyone looks ready to go and eager to get the season started.”

The Colonels are ready to take the ice and skate their way to the top as they intend to shock their opponents with a competitive attitude.

“Being a new team, we finally have a senior class and are no longer the youngest team,” said Barcless. “A lot of teams will be overlooking us and taking us lightly but I think that makes it more fun to go out and try and prove something.”

Schedules for both ice hockey teams can be found at

Photos: The Beacon/Ariel Reed The women’s ice hockey team stayed engaged in the game while their teammates were fighting for a goal.