Even though at Northridge it feels like summer just begun with the blazing heat, for some students on campus it is time to put away the sandals and lace up the skates.
The CSUN hockey team held its tryouts for the upcoming season on Friday and Saturday.
“The first tryout went really well,” assistant coach JP Gale said. “Even though it is my first year coaching, (the past few years) as (team) president I did a lot of recruiting. To see a lot of these kids that I worked really hard to get to come to Northridge, to come out and be strong players I was really excited.”
The Matadors, who went to the American Collegiate Hockey Association Nationals for the very first time last season, lost six players due to graduation and are now looking to fill those spots to return to Nationals.
Twenty-six athletes competed for the 14 vacancies on the Matador’s squad, which normally allows 20 players on their roster.
“This year there’s going to be some tough decisions depending on what direction we want to take the roster,” Gale said. “The most (players) we have carried is 22, if we want to take 20 like we did last year then we can do that.”
During the tryouts the players went through many different drills and a scrimmage game. With 12 returning players on the ice the rest of the participants needed to prove they could be worthy of making the team.
Most of the players play in leagues during the summer to keep themselves in shape and workout outside the rink, which helped their preparation.
“I worked out and I have been playing in an adult league the last couple of months,” transfer student John Dove, who is looking to be on the Matadors roster, said. “I have been keeping my endurance up and I feel good, so hopefully I can contribute to this team. I hope to make an immediate impact and make this team deeper because last year they had one line that was really a threat (on offense).”
Returning players are confident about holding their spots.
“I feel pretty secure, we have a lot of good talent out there,” sophomore Anthony Annese said. “Hopefully we can get most of them on the team, but I’m not worried about my job.”
The most important thing for the returnees was getting back on the ice and showing what needs to be done to make the team.
“It felt good to get out there I haven’t skated with this guys in awhile and to see the new guys out there I was connecting with a couple of them. So hopefully I can match some of the guys with my line and get stuff done,” Annese said.
The Matadors, who are trying to get more exposure on campus, are hoping to continue their winning ways this coming season, which starts in two weeks.
With these two-day tryouts they will soon know what kind of team they are putting on the ice. The returnees feel they need to step up and be leaders to the new players.
“I think they all know their job and that they are going to put a lot of effort to make it back to Nationals,” Annese said.