Ramapo ice hockey is finally back. After Ramapo went without an ice hockey team for 31 years, the newly established Ice Hockey Club Team looks to rekindle the flame that has been lost for the last three-plus decades.
It was no easy feat, but ice hockey is once again part of the Roadrunner athletic program. It took a significant amount of elbow grease and dedication among students and faculty, especially sophomore Matt Rose, president of the Ramapo College Ice Hockey Club, and Bursar Art Chill, who has been part of Ramapo hockey since its inception.
“I, along with Art Chill, worked together all of last year to get the team together,” said Rose, the 19-year-old right winger from Kinnelon, New Jersey. “We encountered some hurdles like getting approval to be a club and getting word out to the student population so they would be aware about the new team.”
Student awareness is one of the main goals for the Ice Hockey Club this season, as the team wants the knowledge about their reincarnation spread throughout campus.
“We want to make students aware of the program on campus so that we get as much student participation as possible,” said Chill. “We want that recognition that we had in the ‘70s.”
Chill was a goalie and coach for the former hockey team. He was a part of the 1975-1976 “Super Team” that finished their season 29-1-3, winning a second consecutive league championship. This year’s team looks to emulate the teams of old when they take to the ice this year.
“Our team looks highly skilled and very competitive,” said Rose. “In this first season, we are looking to be a competitive team and reassert the formidable reputation Ramapo College ice hockey once had.”
Chill said he is looking to put a competitive team on the ice at the start of this season.
“The greedy side of me wants to win the league championship and go to nationals,” said Chill, “but the goal is to definitely be competitive. We want to put a good product out there because when you have a winning product out there people come and participate.”
The winning spirit the team needs lies within their coaching staff, which is comprised of alumni who were all players from the original squads. Head coach Dave Gritschke, who has been coaching at the high school level for over 25 years, resulting in a few team championships, will lead the team this season.
“We have 16 kids ready to be competitive this season and I really look forward to it,” said Gritschke. “I’m really excited for this season. It’s going to be a big one.”
Camaraderie is the backbone of the team as assistant coach Russ Tricoli along with Gritschke and Chill kept in touch over the years through the annual game at Ramapo. Their strong bond has kept hockey alive at Ramapo, and for that, they will be honored before the puck drops at the first game.
“It’s been a long time coming, and for the alumni, it will be great for them to see their team take the ice again,” said Rose. “As for myself, it’s a dream come true to see an idea go from paper to ice in under a year.”
The ice hockey Roadrunners will break their 31-year hiatus this Sunday as they will take on New Jersey Institute of Technology at Sport-o-Rama in Monsey, New York at 7:30 p.m.