Optimism in the Air: Trent Men’s Hockey

hockey sticks

Trent’s Men’s hockey team hasn’t managed to notch a championship win in their first two tournaments and in exhibition play they have only managed as many wins as loses; despite the slow start the Excalibur still believe they have what to takes to make a run at the Challenge Cup.

“We’ve had a tough go” explained Trent hockey coach Gavin McKnight, “the big problem is we are having a tough time scoring.”

Dan Hampel a 3rd year veteran on the team sees the team’s problems as just part of the process of getting used to fresh faces.

“We had a big turnover in guys, it has just taken a while to get used to the system, but we are going to turn it around in the second half, big time,” Hampel said.

Shifting their fortune after the Christmas break is something that the team has been good at in the past says Ryan Minicola, a player who has been with the team since it was started up four years ago.

“The big thing that happened last year and has actually happened every year is we have put on a big push in the second half, first half we are feeling each other out, second half everyone can usually make it out and we do better as a result.”

Peterborough has always been known as a good hockey town with one of Junior hockey’s oldest franchises the Petes. Peterborough is even a bit of a breeding ground for hockey talent with current NHL stars Mike Fisher and Corey Perry growing up and playing minor hockey here. Trent is no different with many good hockey players going to school here as well.

“The tough thing at Trent is there is a lot of good players who play Junior C or Junior and don’t have the time to play and they don’t understand that they can play, that we can make it work” said McKnight.

Minicola added, “The big thing for our team – why we do the fundraising, [is that] its hard getting guys out who aren’t used to paying for hockey.”

Unlike other sports teams, Trent’s Men’s hockey team is funded by the players, which means a lot of fundraising to cover costs. This year the team has run a few events, a ball hockey tournament, celebrity server night and the Kawartha Cup, a game between Fleming College and Trent.

It was a game that despite losing 2-1 to Fleming, was a success for the team trying to raise money.

This was second time the two schools have organized for the Kawartha Cup—Fleming has won both.

“Hopefully next year we can bring it back where it (the Kawartha Cup) belongs” said Hampel.

To qualify for the Challenge Cup (which is effectively the Ontario championship for extramural hockey) it is required that the team either wins a tournament or qualify for one of only a few wildcard spots, but the Excalibur aren’t worried about it.

To see the team in action check out their  two upcoming weekend tournaments, one at Seneca College, the other at Fleming.