Emerson senior Kyler Schelling has always been an avid hockey fan and has played the sport for most of his life, but after suffering four concussions throughout his hockey career, doctors told Schelling he could no longer get physically involved in the game.
Schelling, a transfer student from Virginia Tech who has been involved with the Emerson club hockey team since 2010, turned to coaching instead.
The visual and media arts major took over for the hockey club’s previous leader, Misha Spivak, who graduated from Emerson in 2011. Spivak moved to New York, leaving the spot open for Schelling, a Massachusetts native.
One of two Emerson club sports teams, the squad is headed by Schelling and team captain Kathryn Barnes, a junior journalism major. It consists of 15 athletes, both male and female, who all have different levels of experience. Seven of the players are new to the roster, and a majority of the rookies are freshmen.
As a club team, Emerson hockey doesn’t have the opportunity to practice more than once a week. The team meets at the Simoni Ice Rink in Cambridge, Mass., where home games and practices are held. But practice time doesn’t come cheap — it costs $200 for one hour on the ice.
As head coach, Schelling said he is responsible for working with players every week to improve their form in a structured manner.
“Meeting once a week for one hour doesn’t do much before a game,” Schelling said. “The best way to improve is to work on a system, instilling a single system so [the players] know what they’re doing.”
The team is still in the process of setting up a schedule of competition for this season.
While Schelling may be in charge of what happens on the ice, Barnes is in charge of what happens off the ice.
As captain, Barnes puts together the game schedule with other teams, pays the referees for each game, and organizes ice time. This season, finalizing a plan has proved a bit of a challenge, she said, because Suffolk University and Berklee College of Music have both left the club hockey program.
Barnes said she has been busy recruiting other teams in the area to add on to the schedule. She recently received word that Northeastern University’s club hockey team has made the commitment to participate.
The Lions lost the first game of the season against Middlesex Community College 10-1, but Schelling said the team is ready for its next game against Rhode Island School of Design.
“RISD is our greatest competition,” Schelling said. “We’ve never lost to them, but tied once.”
Emerson will take on RISD in Providence, R.I. on Nov. 4 in Brown University’s Meehan Auditorium.