When presented with the opportunity to interview Seth Appert, we wanted to gain some insight into the coach’s and team’s past in preparation for this year’s season. Appert grew up in Cottage Grove, Minn. where he began playing hockey at the age of four. In light of tradition, he stayed in his hometown to play for his high school team before moving on to Ferris State University. His aspirations of playing for the Tampa Bay Lightning in the NHL never became a reality because, as Appert puts it, he “wasn’t good enough.” After nine years as an assistant coach at the University of Denver, Appert was brought to the RPI staff in 2006. He states he was drawn to RPI’s “great tradition of history and success” and believes the team is “a part of the cultural fabric of our community.” When asked about his coaching staff, Appert was humble in thanking Nolan Graham ’03, Bryan Vines, and the newest addition, Andy Thomas, the operations coordinator, for their hard work. He credits them for their work in recruitments and relationships with the players themselves and later states, “You can’t operate a successful Division I program without a good supporting staff.” Appert then went on to credit the Engineers’ fan base in not only intimidating the opponent, but also for the role they play in the recruiting process.
When asked about preparation for this upcoming season, the Engineers cannot focus on one specific team. “That is what put us in the position we were in last season,” Appert states. He expressed his disappointment in the outcome of last season and chucks it up to the team losing sight of their identity. Appert later admits when asked about Union, a fierce competitor, that they were “the team to beat until proven otherwise.” This brought on the question of what the RPI fans should expect when attending a game between these rivals. A chuckling Appert expressed his resentment for the negative representation of the team due to the brawl in last season’s Mayors Cup, but also his appreciation for the great hatred that fuels the rivalry between the teams. Although the team lost some of their leading offensive players to the NHL, Appert is excited going into the new season with new players and new tactics. He plans to reinvent his strategies and feels the team is extremely capable of reaching their goals.
The 2014–15 men’s hockey team begins their season a home with an exhibition matchup with the University of Prince Edward Island at 7 pm on October 4.