The University of Rhode Island’s Women’s Ice Hockey Team is eager to start their season despite delay in game play.
The COVID-19 pandemic has not slowed the team down; however, the season is looking a lot different than a normal year. The group of 17 players are practicing three times a week in a safe, socially-distanced fashion.
“We have stable groups, wearing masks and it’s much different,” senior captain Jill Gonsalves said. “It’s still been a lot of fun, but it is a lot more restrictive. I’m grateful they are letting us practice.”
At this point of the year, the team would have been about 14 games deep into the 25 to 30 game season and preparing to compete in the National Championship. This season, games are scheduled to begin at the start of spring semester, with nationals still taking place.
The women’s ice hockey team is a very competitive organization. They compete in the Eastern Collegiate Women’s Hockey League (ECWHL) and have made 12 appearances at the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) national championships since 2004. After not making nationals last year, they are motivated and driven to make it this year, and the odds are looking good. The team is composed of many talented freshman and returning players.
“We are really excited not only about the current composition of our roster, but also the direction we are moving forward with.” said newly-hired Head Coach Ray Boudiette.
Coach Boudiette is a 2017 URI alumnus. He played hockey during his attendance at the University of Rhode Island and graduated with a degree in finance.
“I was really excited to have the opportunity to take over the program,” said Boudiette. “I am looking forward to building on some of the groundwork done by previous coaches and teams and leading this program to a national championship in the near future.”
Although Boudiette was not able to recruit any of the athletes on the team this year as a result of his late hire, he is excited to work with the team as well as build it in years to come.
The players are equally excited about Boudiettes energy and coaching style.
“He’s been awesome,” said Gonsalves. “He’s got a really good vision and enthusiasm for the team. Our practices have been great.”
Starting in January, Boudiette and his team will be officially starting their first season together.
“There has already been great progress both individually and as a team in the three months we have been together,” said Boudiette. “It is very rewarding to see, and we are really excited about the potential we have for next semester.”