UMass women’s hockey club places second

By Johnathan Vega, Collegian Staff

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The University of Massachusetts women’s ice hockey club, which placed second in the Northeast and ninth in the nation, has exploded onto the scene in its first three years as part of the American Collegiate Hockey Association. The hockey club is also affiliated with the Eastern Collegiate Women’s Hockey League. The women’s hockey club also finished second this past weekend in the ECWHL season championship tournament; their record is now 16-10.

Bill Finn coaches the women’s hockey team, with assistance from Phil Bateman.

UMass hosted the ECWHL tournament in the Mullins Center practice rink, which matched the top women’s hockey clubs in New England against each other in an exciting series of games that came down to a UMass 5-4 overtime loss to the University of Rhode Island women’s ice hockey club that took first place in the tourney. The Bates College Women’s Ice Hockey Club took third place with a 4-3 win over Penn State.

“Our recent success is a true accomplishment for a completely student run organization like ourselves,” says Samantha Louras, a player and President of the UMass women’s ice hockey club. “Becoming a varsity sport on campus is definitely one of our goals.”

Louras points out that budget cuts have drastically impacted existing varsity teams leaving some disbanded. “UMass varsity tennis and men’s gymnastics have been cut,” says Louras, “These teams would have priority when university funding increases, so unfortunately, we don’t really have a lot of control over [becoming a varsity team].”

“If we could become a varsity women’s team we would attract more of a fan base and players,” Louras said, “the university provides us with $10,000 a year but our ice time at the Mullins Center is $18,000 dollars.” In the end the players bear the burden of funding their sport through player dues and contributions.

Varsity or not, players are migrating to the club more and more every year, explains Louras. In fact the program has grown so much over the past years that the club has two teams. The B Team has been practicing once a week and has games almost every weekend. “We are trying to attract attention to let people know that UMass can be a great source for women’s hockey,” Louras said.

According to the club’s website,, the team is part of a competitive league at a national level, and is starting to look for players who have experience and feel they can contribute in making UMass women’s ice hockey one of the best teams in the ACHA.

Presently there are 32 players in the UMass women’s league and according to Louras there is room for more. She adds that the team has a wide variety of ability levels and some players have been playing for years on men’s high school teams while others may have played recreationally; nevertheless, many players on the team have begun their organized hockey career with the club.

The ACHA National Tournament begins March 10 and expects to draw twelve teams from all over the country. “The ACHA tournament is the biggest non-varsity sporting event in the country,” Louras said, “[it] is working to create varsity caliber players and tournaments.”

Students can support the UMass women’s ice hockey club by attending games and spreading the word about the upcoming ACHA National Tournament in March at the Pepsi Center in Buffalo, N.Y. More information about the team is available at their website.