Newsflash ladies and gentlemen. Hockey is in fact not locked out here in Nashville, Tennessee, as the newspapers would suggest, not by a long shot. The Jr. Preds are back in action, the GNASH high school hockey league is prepping to shake off its summer rust and start another campaign, and your Vanderbilt Commodores ice hockey club is just hours away from dropping the puck in Memphis versus SECHC rival Ole Miss. The 2012/13 season is upon us and the boys in black and gold couldn’t be more excited to kick things off.
Back with the Old
Returning for the upcoming campaign is senior captain, club president, two-time club MVP, part-time scholar, and full-time dangler Kyle McCann, a.k.a James Earl Jones. McCann is joined by fellow seniors Mackie Anderson, Ryan Blatt, and Scooter McLaughlin plus a host of juniors who are too uniformly distinguished to single out by name.
Despite a bum wing and the dreaded chore of cramming for the LSATs over the next several weeks, McLaughlin says he’s particularly fired up for the season.
“It’s the last time I’ll play competitive hockey pretty much ever,” McLaughlin said, noting that, “While I’m sure I’ll enjoy beer league well into my 80s, there’s just something about popping on those shoulder pads and firing into a legit game that I know I’ll miss.”
In with the New
There are a slew of new faces in the mix for 2012/13, including sophomore goaltender Andrew Keen who will be making his debut between the pipes for the ‘Dores tonight. A transfer from Connecticut College, Keen is a Massachusetts native who Coach Bernstein describes as “the most freakishly normal goaltender [he’s] ever met.” Says Bernstein, “I’m used to this kid from Texas who used to listen to Taylor Swift on repeat before games and pass around orange-flavored smelling salts between periods. Keener is the opposite … which, to be honest, worries me a little.”
Keen will have some fellow newbies holding down the ice in front of him including two defensemen from New Jersey, Michael Hite and Greg Kirk. Interestingly enough, the two played together a decade ago on a Jr. Devils team tournament team that traveled to Quebec. “I’m not sure if Kirk even remembers that,” says Hite. “Guess I’ll have to make a bigger impression on him this go around.”
Freshmen Jack Gibbons and Chad Wyatt will provide some firepower upfront, as will sophomore not-so-newbie Daniel Hogue. Hoagie was a freshman last year and skated with the club in the spring but unfortunately was too late in signing up to come out for the team. He’ll now be looking to make up for lost time starting with tonight’s match-up.
Asked to comment on his debut, Hogue was succinct if not vague. “Dangle, cheddar, top-shelf, cele. All night.” We suppose that means he’s ready to play.
It All Starts Tonight
The festivities kick off tonight against a formidable Ole Miss team that the Vanderbilt club has lost to four straight times. The last trip to Memphis landed two players in the hospital so it is safe to say that the club is in for all it can handle and more.
Bring the wife, the kids, the Nanas and Grampys because the NHL is locked out, the SECHC is open for business, and it’s hockey night in Memphis!
Vanderbilt @ Ole Miss
Game starts at 9:15pm CT
Mid-South Ice House | Map
10705 Ridgeway Industrial Drive
Olive Branch, MS