Men’s hockey takes the ice in annual preseason tradition

As the fall sports season begins to wind down and the weather gets colder, the winter teams are gearing up for an exciting season. One team in particular, however, gets back to practice as soon as possible so they can be as prepared as possible for their opening game. After a very successful season last year, the men’s hockey team is looking to take the team to new heights this year. On most nights at midnight, Colby students are  winding down their studying, or maybe heading back from the apartments on a weekend. But every year at exactly 12 a.m. on Nov. 1, the men’s ice  hockey team has a different plan. Instead of heading home for the night, they are stepping onto the ice for their first official practice of the year, known as Midnight Madness. As the first time the whole team practices together, this is always a special moment for the hockey team. In an interview with the Echo at the end of last season, Coach Blaise MacDonald noted how Midnight Madness is always one of his favorite parts of the season, as it really signifies the team coming together for the first time. Forward Kienan Scott ’20, who led the first-years in goals last year, said that “Midnight Madness is a great tradition we all love. It gets all the guys really excited about the season and it’s a great first skate before the real work starts.”

Last season, the Mules ended up 11-4-3 in conference play and 13-7-4 in overall play. Colby took second place in conference last year, but was tied for the same number of wins as Hamilton (11-3-4), only losing first place by having one more loss. Unfortunately, their season ended during the playoffs in a close game against Wesleyan that ended 5-4. Though the Mules did not win, the game itself was a testament to the popularity the team has gained, as their final game had over 1000 fans in attendance.

Last year, the team graduated eight seniors, a considerable number to lose in ice hockey. Thankfully, the team is filled with extremely talented underclassmen that will continue to grow and be impactful players on the ice. One large contributor to the success of the team comes from their spectacular goalies. In the Echo interview with MacDonald, he stressed how nice it is that no matter who Colby has in net, they are more than confident in their ability to keep the puck out of the net. Scott also commented on the team this year, noting that “[the] team is really talented this year and we’ll be fun to watch. We expect to win a lot of games and we’re going to do everything we can to bring Colby another NESCAC championship.”

Looking forward to this season, the men will open up their season away against Middlebury on Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. Middlebury hockey struggled last year, winning only three games all season (3-15-0) and losing both of their games to Colby. Of the upcoming season and game, sophomore goaltender Andrew Tucci ’20 stated, “We have really high expectations for our season, especially after being successful in our regular season last year. We’re looking to get a good string of practices together before our first weekend but we are already confident in our ability to succeed. We’re looking to have a good opening weekend and then build upon that.” No matter the results of their first game, the Mules will have to be ready to go the very next day as they take on the Williams Ephs on Nov. 19. Williams had a strong team last year, ending their season with a record of 10-5-3. In their two meetings with Colby, the first ended with Colby handily winning 4-1 while the second game ended as a 3-3 tie. Colby men’s hockey will have their first  home game of the year on Saturday Nov. 25 against University of massachusetts Boston.