When freshman Rachel Kang went through sorority recruitment at Chapman Jan. 24, she felt proud to represent her teammates while she shared her experiences about being on Chapman’s hockey team. But, she said, many women she met were surprised to hear the university even had a team. After cancelled games and little off-season training this year, Kang said the team doesn’t have much exposure.
Despite that, Kang said the team is active on the bench and full of energy. But around interterm, there weren’t enough players on campus.
On Jan. 25, the team was scheduled to play California State University Northridge (CSUN) and University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) Jan. 26, but Chapman canceled both games because only nine players were present for interterm. Six players are normally on the ice at a time, so the team would have had only three substitutes.
These cancellations over interterm resulted in California State University Fullerton canceling their game against Chapman Feb. 1. The University of San Diego also canceled their Feb. 2 game, Chapman’s last scheduled home game, but did not specify a reason. Chapman was scheduled to play 13 games this season, but only played nine.
“The team was definitely pretty frustrated, especially the seniors,” Kang said. “It would’ve been fun to get everyone out.”
Evan Sue, a senior right-wing player, said he was disappointed since he hoped to play one last game.
“It was a little frustrating for me,” Sue said. “It’s just something nice for our seniors.”
Coach Tradon Reid said it would have been irresponsible to play the games over interterm because, with only nine players, playing would have “done more harm than good.” In an attempt to avoid conflicts like this next year, Reid said he is working on restructuring the program.
“We’re going to treat it like a club sport should be treated. Not crazy where you’re practicing every day, but we’re getting together for dryland training, chalk talks, meetings (and) starting our recruitment efforts,” Reid said.
The team usually practices weekly starting late summer, but Reid said they will start off-season practice as early as March 1 this year. With these efforts, Reid hopes more students on campus will be inclined to join.
Since the team is a club team and not associated with the NCAA, the players and coaches are the ones in charge of fundraising and structuring the team, Reid said. At Chapman, hockey is the most expensive sport, with dues at around $1,875 per player each season, Reid said.
Sue joined the team two years ago and has seen it grow, with the roster almost doubling this season. With graduation nearing, Sue said he’s optimistic about the future of the team.
“Being in the locker room with all the guys and two girls, there was a lot more camaraderie between us compared to last season,” Sue said. “Although (this season) didn’t really turn out the way we wanted it to, they’re definitely going to build a lot stronger of a team.”