Women's hockey working toward nationals
Minot State Women’s Hockey Club is hoping to make it to nationals a second year in row with a new coach, full roster, and greater ambition than ever before.
Ryan Miner, an MSU senior and former MSU hockey player, has taken over the head coaching position for the 2017-2018 season. With a roster that has nearly doubled, Miner is hoping to use hard work, focus, and effective communication to help lead the ladies to a national title.
This year, tryouts consisted of a regular season practice, which allowed for Miner and assistant coach Kyle Volk to assess the different skill levels. The team grew from just 12 members last season, to 21 this season. Not only do the coaches aspire to win nationals, but the players also share the same drive and passion.
Senior team captain Cassidy McGree said her goal for her last season is also to make it to nationals.
“I’m going to set my goal high. We got to the semi-finals last year, so my goal is a national championship,” McGree said.
McGree is not alone in her hopes for nationals. According to co-captains Vanessa Grimstad and Mackenzie Balogh, the whole team shares the same aspirations; however, it takes more than hard work and synergy during practice and games to reach this goal. It takes money.
Because hockey is a club sport, it is not funded by Minot State athletics. Part of its budget comes from student activity fees, but much of the funding to support the team comes from community sponsorships.
“Hockey obviously has a very high budget and in order to go through the season, you have to fill that budget,” Miner said. “We’ve been working on sponsors for the last three months.”
The team spends a lot of its time off ice working to help build and promote the program through various fundraisers.
“It would be nice to get funding from the university because it is really hard to find sponsors. That’s the biggest con of being a club sport,” Balogh said.
The club partners with local restaurants to host fundraisers. They previously did Dining to Donate with Applebee’s, and Taco John’s helped with a Crunch for a Cause. The team also cooperates with the men’s hockey team to help promote the hockey clubs. The women helped the men pass out equipment and jerseys to children.
The women strive for success on and off the ice. Part of their recent success is contributed to their unity and positive team chemistry. According to the women, everyone on the team gets along really well, and although they don’t have to, they choose to spend a lot of time together.