A monetary issue is what is preventing the William Paterson University Ice Hockey Team from joining the rest of the registered male sports teams.
This collegiate club is run by an executive board which is in charge of booking travel, scheduling games, purchasing equipment and fund-raising, alongside any other club in the university. The WPU Pioneers are not funded through the university due to the hefty Title 9 costs of adding another varsity team to the athletic department.
“We get a lot of help from our coaches as well as the Student Government Association and campus activities staff,” states Matthew Hunter, WPU Ice Hockey Captain.
The team is funded by a combination of an SGA grant negotiated every year and the players pay tuition at the beginning of the season to play. “This doesn't include expenditures covered by the players themselves which can cost a lot,” states Hunter.
Without the SGA the Pioneers would have trouble to getting to places such as Boston, Mass. for the National Tournament, the Super East Collegiate Hockey League (S.E.C.H.L.) with the a location to be determined, the Regional Tournament in Danbury, PA. and Kalamazoo, MI. for the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Showcase.
According to Hunter, [the situation] makes it more difficult to focus on being student athletes, since they have to worry about all of the other responsibilities they need to attend too.
As it stands, the Pioneers have won the S.E.C.H.L. Championship every year since 2009 and the ACHA National Championship Tournament every year since 2008. They have been League Champions every year since 2007.
On the ice, spectators would be blind to the current burden this situation creates. As it stands, the team is ranked fourth in their league and are 6 - 1 after their recent wins against Siena and New York University.
As far as the championship upcoming this weekend in Michigan is concerned, Hunter, projects two wins and one loss. All of the teams they will face were in the National 4 last season. “...I'm expecting three very tough games but I like our chances with the team I have,” states Hunter
Other big games for the Pioneers include Montclair /Northeastern weekend on October 18-19.
With ten points in the last four games, the player to watch out for this year is senior Ryan Mara. “I think every time he touches the puck it goes in. It's both of our last seasons and he's definitely not holding anything back.” states Hunter.
Current players Matthew Hunter, Ryan Mara, Kyle Garlasco and Ryan Melvin are all scheduled to play on the 2013 SECHL All-Star Team.
The team was founded in September of 1973. Bob Rodgers was named the first head coach after John Noels, team adviser, had found an opening in the New Jersey College League.
After losing their first six games, the Pioneers put their first win on the board against Newark College of Engineering. These wins may be accredited to key players such as Rich Humphrey (44 points), David Stanek (16 points) and Al Samaniego (15 points). Other key players included Captain Rich Bennett who added 16 goals to his team’s first season.
They finished their first season with a record of 7 – 10 – 2.
Shaun McTigue holds the top spot in career points with 290 and goals with 137 along with Bill Katinsky, who holds 155 assists.
Bill Katinsky holds the second spot in career points with 267 alongside John Gomez with 127 goals. Shaun McTigue follows with 153 assists.
The pioneers are away this upcoming weekend but will return to the Ice Vault in Wayne for the Friday night match up against Montclair.
A full list of the team’s roster, schedule and other information can be found at their website www.wpuhockey.com
Their SGA President, Nicola Maganuco was unavailable for comment.