Syracuse men’s club hockey cancels season due to pandemic
Men's club hockey cancels season
Mackenzie Murphy glides toward the puck, lifts his stick, and connects for a goal. Instead of celebrating with his teammates, he retrieves the puck out of the net for another one.
Skate. Shot. Retrieve. Repeat.
It’s late October and Murphy, a sophomore defenseman, is one of just two players on the rink at Tennity Ice Pavilion. The other skater is doing the same thing as him, just on the opposite end of the ice.
These 45-minute solo skating sessions are better than nothing, Murphy said. They’re far from what was supposed to be Murphy’s second season with Syracuse’s club hockey team.
Unlike most varsity sports, the men’s club hockey team’s fall 2020 season was canceled due to COVID-19. The team, under Syracuse’s Stay Safe Pledge and the club sports department’s regulations, can only meet for outdoor conditioning sessions. The closest thing players can get to practices is individual puck-and-stick sessions at Tennity Ice Pavilion.
“First time I went, the 45 minutes kind of felt like two hours out there by yourself,” Murphy said. “But then you kind of get used to it and you understand what you’ve got to do. Like I go out there and I shoot, then I’ll work on my skating and whatnot. You get used to it.”
Without a season, the team has turned its attention to fundraising for breast cancer research. Instead of its annual “Pink The Rink” game to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the Orange auctioned off jerseys. The campaign, which ended on Oct. 31, earned $3,682, near last year’s total of about $4,000.
“Since we can’t play, we thought we’d put all of our efforts toward fundraising,” Murphy said.
For the club’s “Pink The Rink” game, they wears pink jerseys with admission going to the Susan G. Komen fund. Without the game this year, the team auctioned off their jerseys to fans, with half of the proceeds going to Komen. The club has done Venmo request bingo boards on Instagram to promote the fundraiser and boost the total.
“It’s been nice to do something somewhat normal as a team, but obviously without the game,” Murphy said.
The team found out the season was canceled last summer, Murphy said. Even as other teams in their league have proceeded, Syracuse’s club sports department prohibits the club from skating together, but allows them to condition together outside. They haven’t done any outdoor training this semester.
Murphy said a more limited — maybe 10 people on the ice at at time — would be a big improvement over the current situation. Varsity sports are playing, and the women’s ice hockey team they share Tennity with has been practicing in preparation for the spring season.
Murphy remains optimistic that there will be a club season next semester, but knows it’s out of his control. The COVID-19 pandemic and how the U.S. handles it through flu season and the winter will dictate that decision.
“I hope when things are all said and done when this is over, our team does get more recognition on campus for the work we do and the level of play that we play at.”