Marist Hockey: Why Marist?

There are a lot of reasons to choose Marist College for your education, but why for Hockey?

The hockey team is full of players majoring in all different subjects and areas, but they all have one thing in common and that is playing the game they love.

“We all get along very well. We are a family at the end of the day no matter what obstacles get thrown at us,” said junior Vincent Masters.

Hockey is a passion for every single one of these students. So that leaves the biggest question, why Marist?

“I knew I wanted to play club hockey, it is still a good competitive level. I wanted to be a communications major and Marist had both of those for me,” junior Nick Rudzewick stated.

People sometimes underestimate the competitiveness of club hockey. Being the team’s co play-by-play announcer I can back up Rudzewick when he states that. All players are in agreement that they are happy where they are. Senior forward Max Henry is known as the “player with the best flow on the team” and he is also the team jokester.

“I knew I wanted to play club hockey and I was interested in the business program it just seemed like Marist was the perfect fit for me and I knew a few of the guys on the team already so it made my choice that much easier,” said Henry.

Not everyone lives as close to Marist as these three do. Such as sophomore forward Justin Genga who is a little over a two hour drive away. There were other schools closer to him that offered club hockey but in the end the academics and the size of the school were enough to help him select this institution in Poughkeepsie. Picking Marist to play club hockey instead of staying close by where he was offered scholarships from two Division III schools, and his skills have certainly benefited the team.

If that was not enough distance for you; how about someone from Russia? That is right, freshman goaltender Kirill Merkulov is at Marist all the way from Krasnoyarsk, Russia.

“I came to America for the opportunities. My counselors gave me a list of schools to look at and apply to,” said Merkulov.

He was not just looking for club hockey specifically since he was coming from Russia and not simply another state. He focused a lot of his time looking for a good academic program as well as being able to play hockey. He has visited the country three times prior to enrolling due to hockey tournaments around the country. What won him over was the advertising program that the communication school had to offer. He has picked up English very well by playing hockey here. The process was difficult at first for him trying to transition from living in a new country for the first time but he has adjusted well and has his teammates to thank for that.

“I love all of my teammates, being a freshman goaltender I do not play too many games but I will once the seniors graduate,” Merkulov stated. “They really are a great group of guys, I am definitely happy with my choice of school so far.”

Senior goaltender Ty Crump is from Philadelphia and has a lot of confidence in the future of the team once he graduates in May.

“I have a lot of confidence in the future of this team. Even though I have only been on the team since junior year everybody accepted me right away into the team,” said Crump. “This is a second family to me, there is no question about it.”

There is no doubt there is brotherly love amongst everyone. Even though there are six finance majors, four marketing majors, three advertising majors, two business majors, two sports communication majors, two business majors, two undecided, a media studies major, an American studies major and a special education major, they still find their friendship through the great sport of hockey.

“It is actually really cool how diverse everyone is in terms of what they want to do after college but we all love each other and I think that is why we are off to such a great start this year,” sophomore Anthony Vitale said.

Vitale does make a point there, even though they picked up a 3-0 loss tonight against NYU, the Red Foxes are at a fair seven wins, eight losses and three ties.

“Some would say that our record shows that we do not get along to well if we are below .500 but that is honestly not true,” said senior Michael Donato. “It is because we are playing tough teams that we struggle a bit but this has been one of our better years so far.”

There are only six seniors on the roster so the team overall is very youthful and that is a benefit because they will mostly know each other the following year. Junior forward Connor DiTomaso will be ready to assume a bigger leadership role as a senior next year.

“I am excited to assume the leadership role next year, but I cannot be thinking about that right now. We have a lot of games left this season and then playoffs if we keep up this great performance,” said DiTomaso.

There is a lot of young talent on this team in the freshmen that the rest of the team loves it keeps confidence high. Genga loves playing on the same line as leading goal scorer Seamus O’Rourke.

“Playing with the captain (Austin King) and Seamus has been a blessing for me this year. I feel it has really helped my game a lot because the chemistry is actually unreal,” said Genga.
Unreal might be the best understatement you have ever heard as the trio has gotten 20 goals so far this season while throwing the assists around a combined 22 times. This team has simply exceeded expectations so far this year and with only a second year head coach.

I have only been truly associated with Marist Hockey for two years now as a broadcaster but I have been watching them for four years. I can honestly say I have never seen the team get along with each other as well as this year. They truly act like every last one of them are brothers both on and off the ice. They play with pride, they stick up for one another on the ice, but more importantly they do that off the ice as well.

It only leaves a few questions that do not have an answer in anyway. What if they didn’t choose Marist? What if there was an outside issue that created tension and divided the team? What if they did not play well together?

Luckily for the Marist College Red Foxes ice hockey team, none of these questions have answers and they will never need them. They all did choose Marist, they do not allow outside issues to enter the locker room so the chemistry is rock solid on the ice. Try to analyze it a different way… you can’t. They play well together and are proud to be a part of the Red Fox community.

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