Ice Hockey Club news update - February 2020
Here's your round-up of news from the Cambridge University Ice Hockey Club (CUIHC), including Captains' reports from the Eskimos, Men's Blues and Women's teams, and details of the Varsity Matches in Cambridge.
Grand Opening of the Gattiker Ice Rink
Last September marked the official opening of the Cambridge Ice Arena or the Gattiker Ice Rink. Around 200 people, including 80 alumni who had donated to the rink, gathered to celebrate its opening. Cynthia Comrie, the niece of David Gattiker, came from Canada to unveil the crest that decorates centre ice, where the puck was dropped and the very first match at the new facility got underway. Cambridge Alumni played Cambridge Alumni with the final score 4-4. Nobody lost!
Varsity Weekend 2020
In 2020 the new Gattiker Ice Rink will host the Varsity Match Weekend between 6 and 8 March.
This year's event will see a packed schedule of five games over three days, including the resurrection of the Alumni Match.
Friday evening: Alumni Match
Saturday evening: Men's and Women's Varsity Matches
Sunday evening: Huskies and Eskimos matches
If you are interested in attending or playing, please get in touch with Bill Harris (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Men’s Blues: Captain’s report
With the official opening of the Cambridge Ice Rink, the current 2019-2020 season has marked the beginning of an exciting new chapter for Cambridge University Ice Hockey. Gone are the days of late-night bus rides to practice, poor quality ice, and empty stands for Blues matches. Rest assured, however, memories of the Club’s past are not lost – with seven of the Men’s Blues thirteen-man roster being returnees, the spirit of the Club’s past actively lives on.
After a disappointing loss to a strong Imperial squad in the first official competitive match at the new Cambridge rink, the Men’s Blues responded with consecutive convincing wins over that same Imperial squad and Cardiff, respectively. To close out the Michaelmas term, the Light Blues travelled to Oxford to face off against their Dark Blue rivals. Trailing virtually all game and by a score of 3-1 to start the final period, the boys displayed tremendous resilience, rallying to eventually tie the game at 3 all with under a minute to play and the goalie pulled. Although not the desired result, there was great promise in the comeback effort on their home ice. The notable disappointment of the hostile Oxford crowd contrasted with the Men’s Blues cheers in response to the big, tying goal made for a sweet send-off. Until Varsity…
Overall, the Men’s Blues’ 2-1-1 record had them sitting a point from the top of the table entering the Christmas break. After a strong training camp at Lyceum Alpinum Zuoz in early January, the team is raring to go with the second half of the season. A challenging schedule sees them facing London (at home on 1 February and away on 22 February), Cardiff (away on 16 February), and Oxford (at home on 15 February). One thing is for certain: the Men’s Blues will be ready to go for Varsity on 7 March. We hope you can be there in Cambridge to support us for the first ever Varsity Match played on Cambridge soil!
Women’s teams: Captain’s report
The women on this year's varsity squad hail from both the Women's Blues and the Huskies teams that compete in the British University Ice Hockey Association non-checking division 2 and 3 respectively. The Women's Blues are currently top of their division with a 4-1-1 record and four players topping the league in individual points. The Huskies entered the league for the first time this year and although their season has been met with challenges, they secured their very first win against UCL!
Building off Varsity wins in 2018 and 2019, we are prepared to take the cup home for the third year in a row on home ice!
Eskimos: Captain’s report
A great season for the Eskimos is shaping up. We have a big roster and are entered for the first time into the Northern Rec League, playing the top recreational teams throughout the country. We beat Peterborough Dynamo, last year’s runners up, and the Milton Keynes Hurricanes, one of the top teams in the Southern Rec League. Following these two victories, we then lost to the Durham Dragons in the most penalised game anyone can remember, with only about three minutes of 5 on 5 hockey throughout the entire game. We are confident that we can go the distance in this new league.
One of the highlights of the season this year was a game against Duke University. Duke came over to the UK during the Christmas break, and as the Blues team had disbanded for the holidays their well-coached and talented team had to take on the Eskimos. We gave them a good game but lost 3-1 in our first-ever transatlantic match against another University team. Hopefully, Duke will return next year to face the Blues and continue this transatlantic rivalry.
I don’t have to say too much about the incredibly successful 2018-19 season. The Men’s Blues, the Women’s Blues and the Eskimos all won their Varsity Matches, while the Huskies were defeated in their first-ever hockey match.
This year, with the new ice rink and the much more extensive practice schedule, all four teams are doing great. Our newest team, the Huskies, entered the British Universities Ice Hockey Association (BUIHA) and went from losing their first game of the season 28-0 to Birmingham in Division 3 to tying them the next time they played. The Women’s Blues, playing in Division 2, are at the top of the league, and the Men’s Blues, are in the middle of Division 1, trailing the London Universities but ahead of Oxford. You can follow our team in the league at https://buiha.org.uk
Inaugural Oxbridge Training Camp
In January, Cambridge hosted Oxford for the inaugural Oxbridge women's ice hockey training camp! This camp provided six hours of intense on-ice training with expert coaches in order to further develop Oxford and Cambridge's female ice hockey players.
Our extensive schedule also provided off-ice training to further understand the game of hockey including a presentation by an experienced referee on rules and signals, and a sports psychology session to help players understand their own weaknesses. We also had tailored off-ice drills on stick handling and puck awareness.
The camp was attended by 30 Oxbridge women with a wide range of skills including some who have only been playing for a few months. They were taught by knowledgeable coaches including an ex-University of Alberta player, Team GB player and Milton Keynes Falcon Assistant Coach.
The focus of the training was individual development, with a particular emphasis on equipping players for the rest of the season and beyond and laying the foundation for future player development.
This collaboration between two of the only University women's ice hockey teams was an excellent way to solidify intra-team relationships and promote women in hockey. In future years we would like to grow the training camp and include locations around Europe.