History is being made this weekend at Hatfield Ice as the Arcadia Knights open their inaugural season of NCAA Division III women’s hockey. The Knights will face off against Worcester State Saturday at 7:30 and Sunday at 12:15.
For Head Coach Kelsey Koelzer, the start of the regular season concludes nearly two years of preparation.
“It’s exciting,” she said, a little nerve wracking. Just seeing all of our hard work and seeing the progress that we’ve made. But overall, it’s really exciting.
“It’s nice to start to get into game play. It was 690-some days from the time that I got hired to when our players even moved on campus. And even then, once you get there, you don’t start to get working with them until the first week of October, so there’s another month. And even now, we’ve been all practice for the last three or four weeks.
So, to get to actually play some games and get into kind of crunch time is really exciting.”
Game time will be a new experience for all 19 players on Koelzer’s roster. None have ever played college before; in fact 18 of the 19 are freshmen. But all have taken on the challenge of helping build a startup program.
“It’s not for everyone,” Koelzer said, “but you kind of (sort) that out in the recruiting process as well. The players know that not every day is going to go our way. And you have a lot of adjustments to make.
“We needed players that could pick things up quickly and know that they’re going to be picking up minutes from the beginning and have to just roll with the punches and be okay with making mistakes and getting out there the very next shift.
“So, I think there is a slightly different mindset because the players don’t get to hide behind upperclassmen. They all kind of have to pick it up at the same time and help each other and really just roll with our bumps and bruises.”