Sunday Sports: Clarkson hockey gets ready for the 2021-22 season
POTSDAM, New York (WWNY) - Like the Skating Saints of St. Lawrence, the Clarkson Golden Knights Men’s Hockey Team is less than 2 months away from the start of their 2021-22 season.
It’s a season that brings with it high expectations for a Golden Knights squad that brings back a number of key veterans and a loaded freshman class.
The Golden Knights are set to open their season on October 8th, traveling to Alaska to face the University of Alaska Fairbanks for a pair of non-conference games.
It’s a non-conference schedule that includes Michigan Tech, Wisconsin, Arizona State, Canisius, Merrimack and UNH.
”Yeah, that’s what I believe in here. I believe you gotta play the best. I gotta believe you’re not afraid to travel. I’m real excited about the Alaska trip because it’s during our fall break so it falls perfectly for us. Little down time, not a lot of missed class time. It’s a great way to start the year for team bonding a little bit. Get on the road, get to know each other, spend some time. So I like to take a hard trip early and be a little bit longer than a normal trip,” said Casey Jones, Clarkson Men’s Hockey Coach.
Clarkson has a highly touted freshman class coming in this season, with 1 defenseman, 7 forwards and 1 goalie joining the team, adding key pieces to an already loaded roster.
”You know, I think- I think we do a good job recruiting to who we are and bringing people in that are gonna be successful at Clarkson and want to be in our type of development model. I love what Josh, I love what Mike do, are doing right now, recruiting in terms of the quality of people we’re getting here. I do feel good about that. I think we’re coming in, we’ve got some high profile players that have scored at a high level. We needed to dip into the transfer pool,” said Jones.
Because of that, the Golden Knights are appearing in a number of pre-season Top 20 polls nationally, and Jones says his team expects to be in the mix not only for an ECAC championship, but a trip to the Frozen Four as well.
”We expect to win. I think there’s a difference now. A few years back we were hoping we were there, feeling it. Our expectations now, we’re a good team. We’re expecting to compete for championships. We’re expecting to be one of the better teams in our league and nationally. We know health’s gotta be important, so we’re just gonna get to work and trust our process and try to make sure we’re playing the way that we’re difficult to play against and we’re playing fast and playing to our identity so that we can kind of meet our own expectations,” said Jones.
With rosters expanded this year due to the NCAA allowing an extra year of eligibility because of COVID-19, the Golden Knights will carry 29 players in 2021-22, giving Clarkson depth but limiting playing time for some players.
”It’s the biggest roster we’ll carry, but I think this is gonna be a year where NCAA teams that- Just keeping that roster management is probably our biggest hurdle this year. Keeping everybody excited, fresh and playing because we’ve got tremendous depth,” said Jones.
When the Federal Hockey League season kicks off in a few months, the league will be minus one of the Watertown Wolves biggest rivals.
The Elmira Enforcers announced on their team page a few weeks back that the team was going dormant for the 2021-22 season due to issues regarding their home, First Arena.
That currently leaves the FHL with just 7 teams for the upcoming season.
Enforcers players entered a dispersal draft this week, with the Wolves picking up Ahmed Mahfouz, Joe Young, and Brendan Hussey.
In their press release, the Enforcers say they plan on rejoining the league for the 2022-23 season.
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