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The Greyhound

Club ice hockey returns to Loyola after three-year hiatus


The men’s club ice hockey team returned last fall after it was disbanded in the fall of 2018.  

Seniors, and captains of the new team, Thomas Blumberg, Jake Jafari, and Ryan Grady were freshmen when the team was dissolved.  

“We knew we wanted to get back on the ice our senior year,” says Blumberg. “We were able to find a pretty solid core of underclassmen, which is good for the future of the club.” 

Starting the new team brought new challenges with it. Clubs and sports teams do not receive school funding during their first year at Loyola. In ice hockey’s case, this means the team pays for travel arrangements and ice time on their own dime.  

The team scaled back practices to once a week and is not currently registered in a league. Upperclassmen with cars are responsible for driving their teammates to practices. Despite this, the leadership and other members of the team are prepared to put the work in to reestablish the club sport for the future. 

“They really just want to play organized hockey, and I have full confidence in them going forward,” says Brian Haunert, director of Recreation and Wellness at Loyola.  

The previous club hockey team was disbanded three years ago due to continued student conduct violations over a five-year period. A scavenger hunt, where participants had the option to brand each other for points, served as a final catalyst for the team’s sentence.  

“This punishment was as serious as it gets,” says Haunert, who during his six years at Loyola, has never seen another club or team disbanded. 

Blumberg says that despite the issues the team caused, he never felt unsafe or pressured during his freshman year on the old hockey team. 

“The word hazing does not match what happened…upperclassmen welcomed underclassmen with open arms,” says Blumberg.  

Even though the branding or other extreme activities were never forced, Loyola saw the environment that the previous hockey team created as dangerous. Blumberg, Jafari, and Grady worked closely with Loyola’s student conduct board and recreation department over the last year and a half to establish a new team and regain Loyola’s trust. 

The new leadership’s goal is to create an environment that puts hockey first.  

“We have to evaluate what’s more important, us playing hockey or us having too much fun. Obviously, the clear answer is playing hockey,” says Blumberg. “If this hockey team gets caught crossing the line, and that line has been shortened, the team will never come back.” 

The leadership and members of the team are prepared to put the work in to reestablish the club sport on campus and set it up for future success. Blumberg, Jafari, and Grady are committed to setting a healthy precedent for the years of ice hockey to come. 

“The thing about hockey players is that they’ll always be there and they’ll always be willing to tie up their skates,” says Blumberg. 

Featured Image courtesy of Mariah Hewines via Unsplash

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Club ice hockey returns to Loyola after three-year hiatus