Changes coming for women’s, men’s hockey

THE RENSSELAER ENGINEERS had an 8–28–1 record last season, resulting in the dismissal of head coach Seth Appert (file photo).

The Rensselaer men’s and women’s hockey teams will be facing major changes in the upcoming season. Both teams will be entering the season with new coaches: the men’s team with head coach Dave Smith, and the women’s team with interim head coach Bryan Vines. The men’s team is also facing a large change in its roster in the upcoming season, with nine new players joining the team.

The hiring of interim coach Vines for the women’s team should make for an interesting season. The search for a women’s head coach was expedited, with Vines being hired just days after it was announced that the previous hockey coach, John Burke, would not be staying with the team for this season. Vines should bring an interesting and new perspective to the women’s team. He has extensive hockey experience, as a four-year letter winner at the University of Denver, a video coach for the Colorado Avalanche of the National Hockey League, as well as an assistant coach for the Rensselaer men’s team for the past eight years. Vines has experience coaching hockey and a passion for the sport, though it remains to be seen whether the fact that this is a one year interim position will have an impact on Vines’ efficacy as a coach. The women’s team ended last season with a 10–24–2 record, leaving room for improvement.

The men’s team is also seeing drastic changes. It has a new head coach, Dave Smith, nine new players, and dismissed four players, Cam Hackett ’21, Alex Rodriguez ’21, Sam Rappaport ’20, and Liam McBain ’21. The new freshmen players include Matthew Harris ’21, Billy Jerry ’21, Gavin Payne ’21, Jon Richards ’21, and Troy York ’21 from the United States, Jaren Burke ’21, Owen Stout ’21. and Linden Marshall ’21 from Canada, and Emil Ohrvall ’21 from Sweden. It remains to be seen whether or not these changes will have a positive outcome for the Engineers. In a statement released on June 26, Smith commented on the diverse skillset and leadership abilities of the new players. “They will join our returning group and add to our program’s on-ice strengths of skating, skill and character.” The men’s team ended its previous season with a 8–28–1 record.

This year’s hockey season is shaping up to be interesting, with large roster changes on the men’s team and new coaches heading both teams. Sports fans should look out for different playing styles and new plays from the coaches, along with a new range of players.