The Grand Valley Men’s Club Hockey team plans to dive straight into practice as soon as the rinks are open again, with hopeful hearts that the season will begin in full force January 2021. With fall sports being canceled and club sports being postponed, the men’s hockey team has had some downtime to construct a gameplan for their upcoming season, including their conversion to the American Colligate Hockey Association (ACHA) DI league. With many new recruits and three months of time to prepare for their first season as a DI team, head coach Carl Trosien is looking forward to the positives amidst the ongoing concerns about the health and safety of GV’s student-athletes.
Along with 70 other universities, the ACHA approved GVSU’s team for their Division I league. This now makes GVSU the second-largest school in the division. The team had a record of 15-17 last season and an overall record of 266-87-18 since 2008, a .716 winning percentage. The transition to DI will attract younger athletes looking for the top division in the ACHA. This year’s team will be a younger set of players with a strong will to not only improve but win. Going into his third year as head coach, Trosien is looking forward to building a team that will have more time to grow together and see where that will take them in the next four years.
“Doing this now 14 years, one of the things I’ve learned and seen more often than not is talent doesn’t always get you where you want to be,” Torsien said. “You need work ethic and guys that are hungry and understand what it takes. You need guys that have been there before. I can find a bunch of kids that want to play college hockey, but I can’t find a pretty good percentage of kids that want to win.”
Last season, the team had 22 freshmen, and with a strong core group heading into this next season along with the new recruits, this year’s team will have an even bigger advantage when it comes to growth and improvement.
“We’re a first-year team,” Torsien said. “We get we’re transitioning, but why can’t we make some noise and how quickly can we get to the national championship?”
Another factor that impacts the transition to DI is new competition. Sophomore Zach Borchardt knows the team’s lack of experience at such a high level of play is a possible disadvantage. However, new competition brings an even deeper determination to win. The Adrian Bulldogs have been the top dog in Division I for the past few seasons, but the Lakers are more than ready to see what they can do now that they’re playing on the same ice.
“They’ve been the team to beat for a while at the DI level, so that would be a game that I’d be looking forward to, to see if we can do something that a lot of other teams can’t,” Borchardt said.
With a few extra months to prepare and learn as a team, Trosien and the players are looking at a silver lining in the postponement of their premier season as a DI team and to surprise their competition come game time. With the optimism that this season will be exceptionally successful and exciting for the Lakers, the men’s hockey team will jump back onto the ice starting next semester with a stronger will and determination to make history.