Jack McDonald, Director of Athletics and Recreation, and men’s and women’s ice hockey head coaches Rand Pecknold and Rick Seeley spoke at the annual Ice Hockey Media Night Tuesday, addressing the current state of the programs while previewing the upcoming seasons.
After introductions by Bill Schweizer, McDonald took the podium to discuss both programs, and plans for the future.
“Both our men’s and women’s [teams] are nationally ranked in the preseason,” McDonald said. “It really is something special to have Quinnipiac listed with some of the best names in academics, athletics, and men’s and women’s ice hockey.”
Men’s ice hockey was ranked No. 17 and No. 23 nationally by USA Hockey Magazine and USCHO this past September, while the women’s team placed at No. 14 in both polls.
McDonald also touched upon the university’s bid to host the 2014 NCAA Women’s Frozen Four at High Point Solutions Arena at TD Bank Sports Center. The decision is expected to be made Nov. 1.
“We just hope that will come,” McDonald said. “We’ve put together a very lengthy proposal; we’re looking forward to when the NCAA awards their Frozen Four site.”
McDonald concluded his speech by tackling a specific promotion on Election Day, Nov. 6. McDonald stated that anyone who enters TD Bank Sports Center that night with an ‘I Voted’ sticker will receive free admission to men’s ice hockey vs. American International.
Election results will also be updated on the video board throughout the evening.
Following McDonald, Pecknold and Seeley took center stage, starting with opening statements and then taking questions on topics ranging from the women’s team penalty kill, to the men’s backup goaltender situation.
“We’re real excited about this season. Obviously it’s been a building process for us, we’re starting our fifth year,” Seeley said. “Last year we constantly challenged the juniors and sophomores to step up. I told them earlier, I’ve never had a team this committed, this early. We’re a much higher skill level than we’ve ever been.”
Pecknold later took his first question on backup goaltenders Michael Garteig and Jacob Meyers.
“We’ve got three goalies that can play. They’re both freshman, and certainly their Junior-A credentials are phenomenal,” Pecknold said. “We have a great unique situation. Hartzy out of the gate is our guy, and we’ll let him try to run with it, but we certainly need to get the freshmen some games.”
After, Seely spoke of the high amount of scoring on Sept. 29 against Cambridge when they won 7-0.
“It’s a new situation for us to have the depth we have. Everyone’s come back stronger, we’ve had better freshmen than in the past,” Seeley said. “Players like Babstock, Kosta and Johansson that finished the season really strong as the top line, they’ve been playing better than they have.”
Pecknold finally chimed in on Jordan Samuels-Thomas, commenting on his play in practice and his future with the team.
“We’ve had him for a year in practice. He was great all last year. He worked hard, worked on skating, got stronger. I think he’s going to be an impact player,” Pecknold said. “In two years at Bowling Green, he led them in scoring both years. Right out of the gate, he’s going to play with Langlois and St. Denis.”
Men’s hockey opens their season Oct. 6 at Maine, while the women’s team begins their campaign Oct. 5 against Mercyhurst at the TD Bank Sports Center.