Club hockey team wins championship over UMF

The victorious Hounds posed for a picture and celebrations after the game with a section of their fan base that had traveled off campus to watch them play. Photo courtesy  of Griffen Allen

The victorious Hounds posed for a picture and celebrations after the game with a section of their fan base that had traveled off campus to watch them play. Photo courtesy of Griffen Allen

“Homogenous” is not the first word that comes to mind for describing the group of players that call themselves Colby’s club hockey team. The Hounds, as they are (mostly) officially known by, list about twenty enthusiastic students in their ranks, among them former varsity players, high school heroes, weekend warriors, and even an occasionally colorful bench coach complete with a propensity for weathered suits and chair-throwing. The team is perhaps best represented by its two captains: one, a hulking stay-at-home defenseman from Boston, Joe DeAngelo ’15, the other, a pint-sized singer for campus music group Mayflower Chill who also happens to be one of four female regulars on the Hounds, Kaitlyn O’Connell ’15. Their assistant captain is a junior, Chris Gallogly, a goaltender who traded in his netminding pillows for the lighter equipment of a defenseman upon joining the club team.

Eclectic though the group of players may be, they come together admirably both in the locker room and on the ice. Known as much for their dedicated fan base (a uniquely committed group, by the standards of Colby club athletics) as for their dominating play at the rink, the team is undoubtedly one of the hidden gems of the College.

“The Hounds provide an all-inclusive rink,” said Jasmine Bazinet-Philips, one of the seniors on the team. “The fans join the players in between periods in the locker room and friends and family are waved to from the bench.”

Last Thursday, in front of a truly thunderous crowd at nearby Sukee Arena, Colby faced off against a rowdy University of Maine-Farmington (UMF) team for the championship game of their club league. The game was poised to be a riotous affair from the outset, as the previous matchup between the two teams had become heated after Colby took a particularly large lead and tempers rapidly rose high. With enthusiastic support from their booster club, the Hounds rallied above the tumult and ran away with a nine-goal victory. They rode the momentum to a 9-0-1 record by season’s end, for the top seed in the playoffs and a rematch against UMF in the finals.

Before either team managed to touch the ice for the championship matchup, Colby students poured in by the bushel, stomping and banging on the resonant metal bleachers and walls of Sukee. Waving a handmade oversized Hounds flag, chanting songs with a unity and fervor that would make a British soccer fan proud, and yelling names player names of friend and foe alike, the Colby fans stormed the arena with a presence no club team has a right to. And the on-ice product surely delivered.

The game was 8-2 in the Hounds’ favor with time remaining in the final period but was stopped prematurely. So frustrated had Farmington become with the utter dominance by the Colby club team that one UMF player took a running start into a vicious sucker punch of a prostrate Hound, sparking a referee intervention that escalated into a bench-clearing brawl. “Fights were had,” summarized Julien Lauretti ’16, a defenseman. The victors, wearing old hand-me-down jerseys from the men’s varsity team, were led by three goals from John Pappas ’18 and another strong performance from fan-favorite senior Zach Hartnett in net.

The officials eventually managed to regain enough control to separate the teams and award Colby their trophy. In true Hounds fashion, the championship photo—long a favorite tradition of professional hockey teams—prominently included the Colby fans remaining in the stands. “Hounds games have been far and away the most enjoyable sporting events of my Colby career,” Sam Chase ’15, an avid supporter, said. “The energy and enthusiasm is totally unparalleled. Even in varsity games you never hear the fans chant and chirp like that.”

For the players on a team that operates outside the scaffolding of the varsity athletics system, the effect of fan support is not lost. “The Hounds made what is one of the coldest winter sports the warmest game in town,” Bazinet-Phillips said proudly.

The team has one last game before hanging up their skates for the year: the first annual Elm City Classic, a crosstown matchup against Thomas College this coming Saturday, again at Sukee.

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