SVSU’s club hockey team went 13-13-3 this season, qualifying them for the national tournament.
The team ended the season ranked fourth in the east division of the Michigan Collegiate Hockey Conference. They also ranked 10th in the north region of the American Collegiate Hockey Association.
The team has four seniors graduating from the team this year.
Assistant captain and defenseman Garret Richardson is a graduating biology senior. He has played on the team for two-and-a half years. He hopes to attend medical school following this summer.
According to Richardson, the team had a great sense of camaraderie and taught him to never give up.
“The camaraderie on the team was huge. It gave me a sense of belonging and made me want to come play hockey every day,” Richardson said. “Playing hockey at SVSU, because of this, has taught me to always do everything to the best of my ability and never give up.”
Steven Roberts and Guy Soulliere, both seniors, passed 200 career points.
Soulliere is the team president and a captain. Roberts is the team vice president and captain. This season, Soulliere had 14 goals and 30 assists, while Roberts had 35 goals and 16 assists. Soulliere has played for SVSU’s team for all five years that he has attended SVSU.
“Playing hockey at Saginaw Valley was amazing,” Soulliere said. “If it wasn’t for this team, I would have been somewhere else. My favorite part of playing for this team was the opportunity to play with my two older brothers my freshman year.”
Justin Lacy, a business senior, scored 17 goals and had 15 assists. He has played for the team for two-and-a-half years and plans to work in financing at Gateway Financial Solutions after graduation.
Lacy noted that at SVSU he created bonds with his teammates he won’t forget.
“Hockey is such a close-knit community, but ultimately here at SVSU, I created a bond with the guys over the years and memories I’ll never forget,” Lacy said. “Every year, you gain 20-25 new brothers, and in the end, this experience back home has been something I’ll cherish for years to come.”
The team was young this year, but they played hard.
Steven Kukla, Jon Thomas and Ricky Rayner, all sophomores and forwards on the same line, accounted for 31 goals.
Triston Jensen, a junior who will be taking over as club president, spoke about the team’s expectations for the past season and what they will be looking forward to next year.
“I think we came off a year where we didn’t hit expectations last year, so we came in with a new coach and the expectations were iffy; we didn’t really know what to expect,” Jenkins said. “We got our new coach, and we opened up right away with Oakland, which every year is a team that you see competing for a national championship, and we held our own, and that kind of brought the expectation up a little bit.”
The team competed in the MCHC opening-round playoff on Friday, Feb. 22, but came up short, losing to Central Michigan University 5-1.
Reported by Melissa Vennix, Vanguard Reporter