At the tail end of the grueling 2022-23 season, Marist club hockey found light in the form of a thrilling upset win over Siena in the SECHL playoffs. While they fell to a dominant Army team in the semi finals, the win over rival Siena sparked an energy and excitement that the Red Foxes are hoping to build off of this year.
“Toward the end of the season, we found that confidence, that groove, and I think over the summer and even the beginning of this year we’re still in that groove,” said sophomore defenseman Brayden Kehoe. “As long as we keep the confidence up, we will be pretty unstoppable.”
Confidence will be key for a team relying on their younger and returning players to fill the gap for six key graduated seniors. Senior forward Jack Casey, who serves as the club hockey president, is among those leading the charge in forging a new team identity.
“It’s definitely a new group of guys, little on the younger side, but there’s very good skill, good experience,” said Casey. “Everything is heading in the right direction through the first three weeks of practice so far.”
Casey, who led the team in goals and assists last season, is vital to the Red Foxes both as an offensive force and as a team leader. So far, he is pleased with the growth he has seen in the play of his teammates.
“Our sophomores have matured really well, I’ve seen good development out of them, so I’m excited for them to take the next step.”
The man tasked with leading player development and piecing together the young squad is head coach Randall Hurlburt. Hurlburt, who has been around Marist hockey for two decades, is calling for a hungrier Red Fox team.
“The past two seasons, we’re a little disappointing with our record, but every year we like to learn from it and adjust,” said Hurlburt. “We do have a different approach this year, and I’m expecting for us to be hungry from day one and not give up through the season and have a much better record.”
Hunger for Marist hockey means training like a NCAA caliber program despite playing as a club team. The team takes to the ice for practice three days a week, holds team lifts twice a week, and two to three games on weekends; in other words, Marist hockey is not your typical club sport program.
Hurlburt’s feels that his team is a tight-knit group and committed to one another, a sentiment that was backed up by his players.
“The regiment kind of bonds everyone together in a way that’s different than any other sport or club team,” said sophomore goaltender Anthony Russo. “It’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.”
Marist competes in DII of the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) which runs from mid September into December when the playoffs begin. The ACHA’s history as a collegiate competition since 1991 has grown into the most established non-NCAA competition in the country.
The Red Foxes play home games in the Mccann Ice Arena at the Civic Center in Poughkeepsie on Friday nights at 8 p.m. and Saturdays at 4 p.m. They began the 2023-24 campaign on Sept. 22 with a 5-2 home win over Saint Thomas Aquinas.
With the puck having dropped on a new season, the Red Foxes will look to continue their late season form as they rely on chemistry to knit their young pieces together.
Edited by Luke Sassa
Photo Credit: Kira Crutcher