Hockey hopefuls make moves to reestablish sport on campus

by Matt Couture / Beacon Staff • October 7, 2015

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JB Hunt is trying to revive hockey at Emerson at the club level.
JB Hunt is trying to revive hockey at Emerson at the club level.

A small group of hopeful students are launching an effort to revive ice hockey at Emerson College.

 Under the leadership of JB Hunt, a sophomore visual and media arts major, students met in late September to discuss the prospect of club hockey at Emerson. The option has existed in the past on campus, but Hunt said it had ended by the time he arrived on campus in 2014, due to the graduation of many participants.

 Hunt, who said he has been playing hockey in some capacity since the age of two, first joined Schenectady Youth Hockey, where he played up until his freshman year in high school. Hunt became the captain of a joint Schenectady and Niskayuna High School team in Niskayuna, New York during his senior year and said the leadership qualities he acquired in that role have encouraged him to spearhead the effort to bring ice hockey to Emerson.

“The premise of this is that we just want to be able to play hockey again,” Hunt said. “I miss playing because it was such a huge part of my life for 18 years.”

The new program wouldn’t initially be recognized by the college, but the addition of an adviser would spur funding and official status, according to Hunt. Hunt said he is actively seeking out players with a range of experience through fliers posted around the campus, Facebook, and other platforms.

 “It was just finding a base group of students who wanted to make this happen and then spreading the word so more people would get in contact with us,” Hunt said.

 One of those students is Kaylee Largay, a sophomore marketing communication major. Largay said she hopes to get games underway this season, while attracting a variety of participants.

 “We’re allowing any level of play to come play with us, so it’s just a matter of getting people to be excited about a sport,” Largay said. “Once you are athletic and are involved in sports, hockey is one of the best games that you could possibly play.”

 The team was originally planning for a game in Hanover, New Hampshire against Dartmouth College in late September, but Hunt said he couldn’t organize enough players to make that a reality. Instead, he said he is focused on continuing to contact interested students ahead of another upcoming meeting, which should take place shortly.

 At that meeting, Hunt said he hopes to determine the number of commitments at Emerson and, based on that figure, potentially reach out to other Boston area students attending schools without hockey. Hunt said approximately seven prospective players were in attendance at the first meeting and that he received correspondence from others who were unable to attend, expressing interest.  

 “As of right now, we’re in total control over everything because we’re not affiliated with the school,” Hunt said. “The puck is in our side of the court.”

 Finances may be the biggest impediment to the creation of the team. Hunt listed equipment, ice time, transportation, and a coach’s salary as some of the many initial costs required to assemble a team.

 Nick Vigue, a sophomore visual and media arts major involved in the prospective club, agreed that the costs of playing hockey add up and said that fundraisers could help offset some out-of-pocket fees.

 “Getting our plan together financially is one of the most important parts,” Vigue said. “Without the money, we really can’t start putting down ice time.”

 According to Vigue, who said he was the student body president and hockey captain at Massabesic High School in Waterboro, Maine, setting up something new in any institution requires an attention to detail.

“You’ve got to get the numbers, and you’ve got to get the money,” Vigue said. “Once those come together, it all just seems to start clicking.”

 With no schedule set for games, Hunt said those who have expressed a desire to join are discussing the possibility of playing in adult league hockey, which he said would give them a chance to establish chemistry.

 As the information gathering phase continues, Hunt said he would be open to holding events at the Boston Common Frog Pond once it freezes over to get more experience on the ice while also enjoying the game.

 “We want to keep this casual right now, so people aren’t afraid to come forward and spend time with us,” Hunt said.

 While a program that once existed at the college is in the initial stages of rebirth, Hunt’s aspirations for the program stretch beyond the upcoming hockey season.

 “I’d like to do some sort of competitive aspect to it, down the line,” Hunt said. “If it could somehow turn into a [Division III] program at the school, that would be amazing.”