Lawrence women’s hockey recently started its season with two exhibition games at the team’s new playing facility, the Community First Champion Center. Previously, both women’s and men’s hockey played at the Appleton Family Ice Center, but though located farther off campus, the Champion Center is a more modern and spacious venue.
“I’m really looking forward to…playing in our new home rink. We have an amazing facility at the Champion Center that has set a new energy and environment for us to play in that is unmatched to any rink we’ve played in before,” said senior forward and captain Delaney Kingsland.
Though both exhibition games – against Lake Forest College on Friday, Oct. 20 and Concordia University on Saturday, Oct. 21 – resulted in Lawrence losses, highlights like defender Beth McArthur’s power play goal against Lake Forest were a great way to kick off the start of hockey season.
The exhibition games also provided an opportunity for Lawrence students and the team’s family and friends to acquaint themselves with the new facility and watch a couple of home games before the regular season.
Women’s ice hockey is one of the youngest teams at Lawrence, with the start of this season marking the program’s fourth year. Following the team’s pair of away games on Oct. 27 and 28 – in which they lost 1-2 and 1-3, respectively, to UW-Superior – Kingsland and her fellow captain, senior goalie Sydney Seeley, spoke about their expectations for the season ahead.
On entering the fourth year of the program’s existence, Seeley said, “We now have a lot of dimension and depth to the team. We have a big roster this year with lots of returning players, and several new players, and I think this range of talent will really help us see more success on the ice this year.” That range of talent also includes fellow captain Lauren Askenazy.
Kingsland echoed those sentiments regarding roster depth: “In the past we’ve just been trying to build the program up, getting our feet on the ground, but now with the core we have, it’s about makinga name for ourselves as a team to be reckoned with and to watch out for in the NCHA. We are here to prove we are going to be tough to compete against.”
As captains and as players, Seeley and Kingsland are cognizant of the progress they and their team have made – both since previous seasons and in the short time since the start of this one.
“Our drive and competitiveness” were high points mentioned by Kingsland, which she said “[have] been an important contribution of our game thus far. We all have such a strong passion for this sport and our drive to win by coming to practice and showing up to games with that mindset has put us over the top. Everyone’s work ethic and attitude has been all team first mentality to achieve our goals.”
In terms of gameplay, she said, “We have a lot of speed up front, power on defense, and a super strong set of goaltenders at the back. There’s a lot of trust built between everyone that has solidified the core of this team.”
Seeley, a goaltender, spoke to the specifics of her fellow goalies’ successes. “So far, I feel like us goalies have been solid in net by making all the saves we should be making, therefore giving our team the best opportunity to win,” she said. “Being confident in net and controlling the shots we see will be a huge factor to finding success this year, and I think all of us goalies have what it takes to do just that.”
In the team’s first two years, they lost every game. During the 2022-2023 season, they snagged three wins, hopefully indicating that the momentum is in their favor to have a similar or improved record this season.
“I think that the games we have played so far have been really telling for us as a team,” said Seeley. “It has been super exciting being able to compete, and have close games, with teams that have previously been challenging for us to play. There’s a lot to look forward to this season and I think we all feel more confident and positive going into games now.”