The soft glide of too-tight ice skates, the drop of a worn-out puck, and the cheers from teammates fill Honnen Arena at 11:30 p.m. on any given weekday during third and fourth block. The bubbling excitement in the rink is palpable, and the games are almost as exciting as those that fill the World Arena on Fridays and Saturdays.
Key word: almost.
While the beginner intramural hockey league at CC may not really compare to our DI-ranked men’s hockey team, the sport is filled with camaraderie, fun, and excitement for those who dedicate their wee hours of the night to it.
Senior Drew Kelly has been playing on a team since he transferred to CC his sophomore year.
“It’s just fun to throw your body around without really knowing what you’re doing,” Kelly said. “Also, if this makes any sense, it’s fun to care about something you don’t really give a damn about—something where there are no consequences if you lose because you haven’t put in any training or anything like that.”
Kelly had played some pickup street hockey before he joined his squad on the rink at Honnen, but nothing more than that. The Massachusetts native describes the games as a mixture of intensity and comedy.
“There is intensity because you’re working super hard not to fall over or run into anyone or get your team in line and protect the net against stupid goals, and there is comedy because no one really knows what they’re doing,” Kelly said. “I started playing to attempt to kick ass, and I’m still working on that.”
Senior Nate Parish, a teammate of Kelly, said that IM hockey lets him play a sport he would never otherwise play with great friends.
“The common ground is usually that everyone sucks, but still has an amazing time,” Parish said. “No one who I have invited on the team has regretted playing. They all love it!”
Parish also said there is definitely competition in the sport.
“It is surprisingly competitive, which makes it that much more fun, but everyone is there to have a good time,” Parish said. “I don’t know about other people but I am smiling the whole time and laugh hardest when people, especially me, fall on their asses.”
And while the season is winding up, and neither teammate knows how long their cherished team will make it into the post season, they will always love the hours spent gliding – or, rather, attempting to glide—across the ice in Honnen.
“What makes IM hockey special is you get to armor up in all this crap—pads, helmet, stick, skates—and you take yourself out of regular life and do this act that is completely absurd out of context: you hit a rubber circle with a piece of wood—[and] that’s fun,” Kelly said. “I feel like sports are often separated from our academic atmosphere, but even in something as basic as IM hockey I feel like using your brain and analytical skills can actually make you a way better player. It’s a reminder that physical activity is another type of intelligence entirely, as opposed to the standard academic stuff we usually think of.”