For many students at the University of Kansas, the Kansas Ice Hockey Club doesn’t come to mind as one of the main sports on campus.
And for many of the club’s players, the thought hurts, because they spend hours and hours perfecting their craft — just like any other student-athlete would. Max Brown, a senior defender from St. Louis, Missouri, wants the club to be more widely known on campus.
It’s bizarre how many hours people spend doing this, Brown said. If the university really recognized us, that would be great.
The Kansas Ice Hockey Club came to KU in the 2000s, but was disbanded in 2011 after falling into significant debt. However, in 2015, the club returned to the ice and has been arguably the best club team in Kansas ever since.
KU Ice Hockey Club competes as a Division III program in the American Collegiate Hockey Association and they play against neighboring college club teams such as Arkansas, Creighton, Dordt, Iowa State, Missouri, Missouri State, and Nebraska. And while the Jayhawks aren’t competing in Lawrence, they’re close to home at the Cable Dahmer Arena in Independence, Missouri.
Without the unwavering support of coaches, families and student athletes, club sports like hockey would not exist due to the lack of resources and financial support that programs receive within the athletics department.
Kudos to Andrew Cadle and Erin Cole, our former president, they kept this thing alive, said Kansas ice hockey coach Andy McConnell. They’ve pulled out all the stops this past year and I think they deserve all the credit for whatever happens this season. I think it’s going to be something special.
There have been many changes in the roster on the way to this year. However, McConnell is eager to get behind the couch with high expectations.
We have a good team and I’m excited to see what they can do,” said McConnell. Even the chemistry is already very solid — sometimes it takes weeks, sometimes it takes games.
Brown has qualified for Nationals for the past two seasons and is looking forward to being there again.
My first two years playing here went to the National Championships, so for the third year I want to go back there and get a chance to redeem ourselves, said Brown.
Before COVID-19 tarnished the team’s plans to go to the national games, the Jayhawks built a hot streak. On March 7, 2020, days before the pandemic canceled future plans, KU defeated the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee 12-4, the teams’ last time on the ice.
Now that McConnell returns after a dormant year, he is ready to see how the season unfolds. We haven’t really had any challenges, at least it would be the late start and see how the season goes, he said.
Only six players from the 2019-20 roster will return to this year’s squad, the highlight being four seniors: forward Steven Siavelis and defenders Max Brown, Connor Morgan and Aidan Pearson. The team welcomes 13 newcomers consisting of freshmen and sophomores.
We have a totally new group of guys, so it’s going to be really exciting to see what the team is like, said Brown. There are a lot of freshmen, so I’m excited to see what they’re going to bring and what guys are putting up.
Kansas opens their season Friday against the Creighton Bluejays at 7:15 PM in Omaha, Nebraska.
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