CANTON, N.Y. (WWNY) - Fans of the St. Lawrence women’s hockey team have noticed something missing since students have returned to campus.
They may be wondering why they haven’t seen their favorite player on campus or around town.
Usually this time of the year, the women’s hockey team is getting settled on campus and getting ready for the start of the hockey season.
This year, though, a majority of the Lady Saints aren’t even in Canton for the fall semester.
When the university went to three semesters, the coaching staff gathered information from school administrators and health officials and decided it would be best for players to attend summer and spring sessions, staying home for the fall semester.
“You know, one of the driving factors other than COVID was when the Ivy League decided to not play any sports through the fall semester here up until December and obviously being 50 percent of our teams, it made it hard to participate in games,” Lady Saints coach Chris Wells said.
Wells, who grew up in Canton and played for the Saints, says the atmosphere on campus has been different with the season approaching and the locker room empty, making it a fall like no other he’s experienced.
“Certainly not having kids on campus is -- that’s what drives you to be able to coach and do those things, so that’s odd,” he said, “so you know over the next couple weeks I’ll be in uncharted waters and usually I’m on the road recruiting.”
The Lady Saints are no strangers to adversity and Wells says some of the challenges they went through last season have helped them prepare for the uncertainty surrounding this season.
“You know, what we went through last year being over at SUNY Canton while Appleton was getting renovated, just the uncertainty of when we were going to get into Appleton, you know, when practice times were at SUNY Canton,” he said. “You know, so the bulk of the team has had a full year of uncertainty and this is just a little bit more of that to add on to that.”
Whether there is a condensed season this year or no season at all, Wells says the three-semester approach St. Lawrence has implemented will be a big benefit to his team in the 2021-22 season.
“We’re going to have the bulk of our team, the majority of our team on campus for that summer session in May and June where we’re able,” he said. “We’re going to be able to train essentially 90 percent of what our team is going to be in the fall the following year, so that certainly is something that’s a big benefit for having the three semesters as well and that’s something we’ve never been able to do.”