Fourth-year forward Robert Delvecchio is one of the many members of the club ice hockey team who, like his teammates, joined the team for his love of hockey and his wish to continue playing once he entered college.
“I wanted to continue playing hockey after high school,” Delvecchio said.
Unlike the Division 1 University of Maine Black Bear teams, who are university funded and organized, the club hockey teams are a little different.
“In 2013, we had maybe 10 players, then sophomore year nothing happened. Junior year it started again and now we have like 20 people on the team. Our first year being in a league,” fourth-year wing Casey Dumont said.
Dumont is a member of the women’s club hockey team, which is organized similarly to the men’s club team. Both are partially reliant on funding from student government, but for the most part from the players themselves.
“Lots of the teams we go against have budgets and we are all player funded with $900 player dues,” fourth-year forward Camden Despres said.
The men’s hockey team specifically raises their funds through the player dues, holding spring and fall formals and having various fundraisers throughout the year. They also receive some money from student government, but not the amount that many other teams they play against receive.
“It seems like every team we face has a bench full of coaches and we just have a player who’s not playing the game sitting there,” Delvecchio said.
The teams do not let these difficulties stand in their way of continuing a sport they love.
“It’s fast-paced,” fourth-year defender Claire Briggs said when asked her favorite part.
The whole women’s team agreed that the best part of the team was being able to continue playing at such an intense level.
Most of these players started playing before they could walk, so hockey was a key part of their lives.
“My dad gave me a set of skates to test out when I was four,” fourth-year forward Dallas Clark said.
One of the exceptions to this was first-year center Sophia Palangas, who started playing her freshman year of high school. She ended up joining the Maine club team, similar to many other players due to the organization fair.
“I went to the tabling on the mall and I met Casey [Dumont] and signed up,” first year center Sophia Palangas said.
For Despres it was one of the things he knew about before coming to the University of Maine.
“I’m from Maine so I always knew they had a club team. I guess when I came here they were at the organization fair,” Despres said.
Now as the president of the club, he and the group of captains is responsible for planning practices and running them as a coach would on a typical team.
From their fundraising and playing time on the ice, the team has developed some definite chemistry.
“Probably my closest friends are from club hockey,” Despres said.
It’s not just friends they are making though, but also tight camaraderie as teammates.
“The chemistry is unbelievable. Everyone is friends with each other. There is no separation,” Clark said.