Nowadays, there are countless options for hockey players coming out of high school looking to play in college. Whether it be playing a year or two of junior hockey in order to prepare for college hockey or going straight into NCAA competition, many high school hockey players looking to continue playing can be seemingly overwhelmed with options.
However, a third–and unfairly under recognized option–is club hockey. Offered at many schools from coast to coast, club hockey presents an excellent opportunity to hockey players who don’t necessarily want the massive time commitment that NCAA hockey requires, while also providing a competitive platform for players to continue to enjoy the game.
Bates Men’s Club Hockey is no different. In speaking with one of the team’s first-years, Alex Ross, he had nothing but positives to say about his time with the team so far.
“My experience has been very good with club hockey, we’ve had three games so far and are 1-2. We just won our first home game in Underhill in two years which is awesome! It’s been so much fun with a great group of guys and I can’t wait for the rest of the year.”
That win came against St. Joe’s, with the two losses coming from games against Dartmouth and Colby-Sawyer.
The team competes in ACHA Division III; here, schools like Michigan State, Auburn, Columbia, Northwestern, and many others have teams which compete at this level.
Like many college players, Ross knew from a young age that he wanted to play college hockey.
“I’ve played hockey since I was 6 years old,” Ross said. “I’ve always loved hockey and knew I wanted to play when I got here regardless of what level of competition it was.”
As mentioned, the universal best aspect of club hockey is the ability to play without the strict time commitments and often extremely challenging circumstances that are often associated with NCAA hockey. That’s not to say those playing Bates Club Hockey have hours of free time on their hands.
“I love the fact that club hockey is taken seriously and not so seriously at the same time,” Ross said. “It’s such an amazing experience because all of us care about winning but it’s also a relaxed feeling in the locker room and during practice.”
While the level of talent in club hockey can vary, this Bates team is absolutely worth the watch. Ross made sure to point out that this team is “talent-wise one of the best club teams Bates has had in a long time,” meaning that Underhill is going to be rocking this winter.
College hockey in New England is on par with college football and basketball at big state universities, so be sure to get over to Underhill Arena to watch the Bobcats dominate out on the ice this winter.
The women’s club hockey team is also off to a solid start thus far, sitting at 3-3 with some big wins over MIT and Stonehill. Their season is just picking up, so make sure to go out and support them as well!