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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Hi! My name is Hannah Jenkins, and I am one of the copy editors here at the North Wind. I am a sophomore at NMU, and I love all things writing and editing-related. I am proud to be a part of this great...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

Women’s hockey team sticks together

The members of the women’s club hockey team have had to deal with late-night practices, expensive yearly dues and have spent nearly every weekend from December to February on the road. Yet, if you ask any of the women on the team, they will tell you that they would gladly do it all over again.

The team, which consists of 18 players and a coach, has been battling its way through the regular season and is preparing to play in the opening round of the Central Collegiate Women’s Hockey Association (CCWHA) playoffs when they take on Ohio State on Friday, Feb. 27.

Club president and NMU senior Chelsea Greenleaf said she started playing on the team as a way to keep playing hockey after graduating high school.

“It’s a good time,” Greenleaf said. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s also a lot of fun.”

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Fellow senior Kimi Robaczewski agreed.

“I love team sports – I love everything about them,” she said. “That feeling of being on a team is what does it for me.”

Like many athletic teams, the members of the club hockey team said they have become quite close to each other. Robaczewski said that beyond just being friends, the team had instead become almost a family.

“It’s great. I’ve made my very best friends on the team,” she said. “When we come back from every road trip we’ve always got new inside jokes and just little things we laugh about.”

Robaczewski said the team usually spends its nights on the road staying in hotels, but on the team’s recent trip to Houghton all 18 members of the team spent the weekend at a team member’s house.

“We stayed at her house and cooked a big spaghetti dinner,” she said.

She added that it wasn’t hard for them to fit that many people into a house.

“She had the house for it,” Robaczewski said. “She had like seven rooms and couches galore, so it worked out and it was really fun.”

Another reason why several members of the team said they played on the team is that they find the sport of hockey addictive. Most team members played hockey for a decade or more before they moved to Northern to attend school.

“It’s a way to keep playing on a team,” Greenleaf said. “I’ve played hockey my whole life and I couldn’t leave it behind.”

Robaczewski agreed with her about the addictive qualities of the game.

“I took my freshman year off (from hockey) because I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to balance being on the team and taking a full load of classes, but after that year off I got involved,” she said. “I missed hockey too much.”

The team’s coach Ben Biddick, who is himself an NMU student, said he has also enjoyed his time working with the team. He said he got involved with the team as a way to challenge himself.

“I tried real hard to get on the Division-I team, but I couldn’t,” he said. “I still wanted to be involved in hockey in a way that would challenge me, so I decided to try coaching.”

Despite how much fun the women on the team said they have had, this season has been anything but rosy for the team. The team is finishing up a season where it tallied a 0-16-2 record overall, and a 0-12-2 record in its conference.

The team is currently ranked 15th of the 17 teams in the nation.

Greenleaf asserted that some of the team’s struggles have come due to the toughness of the league they play in. The team shares a conference with Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Grand Valley State, Lindenwood and Western Michigan.

“We play some really tough teams,” Greenleaf said. “It’s a real challenge.”

Another challenge the team has is the $1,200 yearly cost to play. This money covers league dues, ice rental, equipment and some travel costs.

Robaczewski said she knows this is something that has hampered the team’s efforts to recruit new players, but added that the team does a lot of fundraising, which helps out.

“It’s really expensive, a lot of people hear the $1,200, and they shy away from it, but they don’t understand the amount of fundraising opportunities that are out there,” Robaczewski said.

One fundraising effort that the team had taken part in this season is selling raffle tickets at the varsity men’s hockey games. Robaczewski said this money helps the team pay for ice time and other expenses that pop-up throughout the season.

The final hurdle the team has had to deal with is finding practice time in a crowded Berry Events Center ice schedule. Greenleaf said before the season that the team had two options, to practice at 6 a.m. or to hold practices late at night. She said it was an easy choice.

“The team met and we had a pretty easy time deciding that we didn’t want to get up that early to practice,” she said.

Despite all the challenges the team faces, when Greenleaf was asked if the expensive cost, late practice times, and weekends away from school were worth it, she had a quick answer:

“It was definitely worth it.”

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