Hockey makes its return to Winona State

Hockey makes its return to Winona State

Sydney Mohr, Features Editor

Hockey could be called the “life-blood” sport of Minnesota, after all it is the “The State of Hockey”.

So it would make sense that a collegiate level athletic department would have a hockey club on campus to help boost the love of the sport between athletes and fans alike.

According to junior co-captain and goalie Tyler Werne of the Winona State Hockey club, the program started back in 2011 and the team only played a few games a season.

“Over the years the club built up and ended up joining the American Collegiate Hockey Association and Western Collegiate Club Hockey Association, which are both competitive leagues,” Werne said. “It’s been great to watch the club expand into something more. During this time, it has developed into being more than just a club sport. Being a part of these leagues has made for a more competitive and fun season.”

However, there was an absence of a hockey team within the 2017-2018 school year at Winona State. Speculations arose, but nothing was ever truly confirmed or announced by the university and Werne just said that the team was suspended in 2017 and is trying as hard as they can to recover.

“Now we are on a rebuilding year, which is always a struggle, but we have a great group of guys this season and look forward to building the team and our reputation back up,” Werne said.

Along with struggling to rebuild their reputation, the hockey club had to deal with a last-minute scramble to find an arena. Bud King Ice Arena in Winona, which has served as the team’s home in the past, was unable to offer their arena up to the Warriors this season for undisclosed reasons. Fortunately, La Crescent was able to open up their arena to the team so they would be able to play their ‘home’ games.

“As far as playing in La Crescent there have been some downsides, such as not having the best opportunity to get fans to the games, travel time, gas, safety and it’s hard to get other hockey players that aren’t on the club team to come out and see what it’s like,” Werne said. “While there have been some downsides, we are very grateful for how the La Crescent hockey community has opened their doors to us. They have made this season possible and made us feel very welcome in a rink that isn’t considered our home rink.”

The Warriors will regain their title as full members of both ACHA and WCCHA and will have a full schedule ahead of them..

So far, the Warriors have had a tough time catching their footing as they have had five losses and three wins, one of which just took place with a city battle against St. Mary’s University.

The next two games for Winona State hockey will be played in St. Paul, Minnesota against University of St. Thomas on Friday, Nov. 16 and Saturday, Nov. 17.