SCHENECTADY, NY (NEWS10) — Hockey season is approaching. Both the Union men’s and women’s hockey teams are getting ready for the 2023-2024 campaign.
For the men, it will be year two under head coach Josh Hauge. The now Garnet Chargers went 14-19-2 in Hauge’s first season. They fell to Princeton 6-4 in the first round of the ECAC playoffs.
The Garnet Chargers are expecting to be a deep team this season with plenty of returners. Hauge and his players can now lean on the familiarity they’ve built heading into this season. “I definitely think there’s a level of comfort now,” said Hauge. “First year you kind of feel like a substitute teacher. You’re trying to come in and get everybody comfortable with you but also you’re trying to make everybody happy where in year two it’s just ‘Hey this is how it’s going to be,’ and we’re ready to go.”
“Obviously last year was a bit of a learning curve,” said senior forward Tyler Watkins. “He got introduced as head coach and then we only had a couple of weeks with him before we went home for the summer so really coming back last year was the first time he got to know us, we got to know him and the style he likes to play so I think coming back this year there’s definitely more of a comfort level with him. I think he has more of a comfort level with us and we’re just trying to build off that.”
They begin their season at Army on October 8th.
Meanwhile, the Union women’s hockey begins their season this weekend in Minnesota against St. Cloud State, the 13th ranked team in the country. The Garnet Chargers are already booked for their first ever playoff berth. For the first year, every women’s team will make the ECAC playoffs.
One year after setting the program record for wins in a season, Union has been picked to finish last in the coaches’ preseason poll. They’re letting that fuel them. “It’s just motivation for us,” said head coach Josh Sciba. “I think we’ve beaten some of those teams that are ahead of us for sure. I think we just want to strive to get better and better.”
“I think it adds a lot of fuel to our fire,” said senior forward Emily King. “I think we have a really good team here. I think we’ve always had a really good team. I think we had a lot of injuries last year. We’re all really healthy this year. We put in so much work this summer. I think it gives us somewhat of an edge, teams coming in thinking they’re not going to get a good game and then hopefully we’ll just pound them.”
Faceoff in Minnesota is set for Saturday at 4:00 PM.