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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.

Opinion-- A list of regrets before I graduate
Opinion-- A list of regrets before I graduate
Sal WiertellaMarch 1, 2024

W. hockey set to start season

Playing shorthanded in a game situation can be a challenge, but playing down a man for entire season is a battle in itself. The NMU women’s club hockey team may not be full strength in regards to the size of the team, but they’re utilizing their strengths.

The Wildcats have 11 players on their current roster, with the departures of seven players from the team from last year the ’Cats have brought in five eager women ready to step up and fill the roles of former players.

Last season did not turn out as hoped for the team (1-15-0 CCWHA), but with the right conditioning and proper dedication the Wildcats are looking forward to a turnaround season.

In her second season with the team, sophomore forward Jenny Peretto said the small amount of women on the roster can be overlooked with the proper training.

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“This season we need to really buckle down in practice while weightlifting to make sure we have very strong legs and are very well conditioned,” she said.

Strategy is a big part of hockey, everything from offensive fore checks and defensive schemes to matching lines against the other team’s top players. With the ’Cats having smaller squad this year they will be switching a few plays to preserve energy.

“We’re switching to a left wing lock which should help with our legs by the time we get to the third period of games,” Peretto said.

The left wing lock formation is more commonly known as a 2-3 formation, where two players pressure the defensemen hard and the other three sit back near the top of the zone to clog up the middle.

Training camp and preseason are for touching up skills, but they are also for getting the timing of plays and chemistry back. Hockey is an all year around sport because athletes train in the summer to stay in shape for the season. The Wildcats worked on staying in shape this offseason to have a much better year.

“We had our own workout regimens this summer but the common goal was to make sure we were in shape coming back for tryouts,” Peretto said.

The Wildcats will be looking to improve on the 18 total goals scored last year. In order to do that, they are going to need the help of senior defenseman Laura Williams, who has 19 points (13 goals, 6 assists) in her last three seasons at NMU.

“I worked hard at the PEIF to stay in shape this summer and I want to be a very good role model for the new girls,” said Williams, the team’s captain.

Not having a lot of teammates can sometimes be discouraging, but, these girls are using it to feed their already strong desire to win this season. With only 11 players on the roster, they can’t wait to start playing.

“We’re a lot closer as team this year, everybody really gets along and we’re jelling better even though we have fewer players,” Peretto said.

One of the disadvantages of playing a club sport is that there’s a pay-to-play fee. For the women’s club hockey team, each player pays $1,200 a season. The rest comes from the fundraisers they do as a team.

“A key reason for the low turnout this season is that it’s very expensive for a college student to be able to afford,” Peretto said.

The ’Cats have brought in some new members this year and are excited about their arrivals. Along with new players the team has selected junior student coach Brian Westrick as head coach and sophomore Michael Niday as goalie coach.

“We are excited to have these two guys on the ice with us, taking time out of their days to help make us a better team,” Peretto said.

The Wildcats open their season against a tough opponent on Saturday, Oct. 2 against Robert Morris University (27-8-4 ACHA) at the Berry Events Center, 7.p.m.

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