The NMU men’s club hockey team is getting ready for a new season with a new coach and fresh team.
Recently the team made the addition of a new coach, Carl Trosien, who has five years of head coaching experience, most recently at Delta College in downstate Michigan. Trosien said that he has been working closely with last year’s practice coach and current assistant coach Nino Fogaroli to make sure the team has a more consistent system that they are running.
“Nino and I are both on the same page when it comes to coaching and systems, so it will be nothing but good for the players and our upcoming season,” Trosien said.
Junior returning defenseman Shane Feehery said over the past couple seasons the team has had two coaches: a practice coach that lived in Marquette and a game coach that lived in Chicago.
“We were using two completely different systems because we had two coaches,” Feehery said. “We couldn’t improve on anything because one coach wasn’t ever at practices and he ran a different system than the practice coach.”
Trosien said he is excited to be here for the team.
“I’m really happy to have the chance to coach up here; it’s awesome,” Trosien said. “I went to school up here for a long time and am excited to be back.”
His first hard task as coach was to manage the 50 athletes signed up for the team, close to double from what the team roster had last season. Trosien held a three-day tryout, and said he is happy with the final 30-man roster.
“It was the toughest tryout I’ve ever run coaching at any level,” Trosien said. “It was a small sampling of so many kids, but I am very confident in our choices.”
Of those remaining 30 players, 12 of them are returning athletes and 18 freshmen; Feehery said that this isn’t proving to be a problem because, all of the rookie and veteran players are already playing well together.
“We will have a good team this year; returning and new players are meshing well,” Feehery said. “We are getting closer off the ice as a group and are finding each other on the ice better every day.”
Trosien said even though there are a lot of new players, he is pleased with the way the team is coming together.
“It’s early on in the season and we are trying to get everyone on the same page; for this early, they are looking great,” Trosien said.
Incoming freshman goaltender Sam Bouwens from California, said he can tell the team is coming together on the ice.
“Everyone’s doing their part and working hard,” Bouwens said. “The first day we all were pretty shaky, but I can see everything coming together now.”
Freshman forward Tom Castle, who has played hockey in the United Kingdom, Canada and Junior A leagues in the United States, said the team isn’t worried about the high number of freshmen because there is a strong core group of returning players.
“We have good leaders in the upperclassmen. They are all good role models for the team to follow,” Castle said. “We have a hard working team full of guys just wanting to put the puck in the net, and that’s exactly what we need.”
Feehery said he is confident in the skills and dedication his team has going into this weekend’s games.
“There are always first game jitters; we don’t know how we are going to play, but with all the talent we have this season and how hard we work, we should do well,” Feehery said.
The Wildcats’ first games are against Upper Peninsula rivals Lake Superior State University at 9 p.m. on Friday Sept. 16 and Michigan Tech. at 1 p.m. on both Saturday, Sept. 17 and Sunday, Sept. 18.