They do it for the love of the game. There is no media attention. There are no scholarships worth tens of thousands of dollars. They practice late at night when they can get ice time and they carpool to most away games. “They” are the 33 student-athletes who make up OCC’s Club Hockey team. “We love it,” said Lucas Keyes, a 2014 graduate of Cicero-North Syracuse high school and a center on OCC’s team.
“It’s fun being with a bunch of guys, having teammates and competing.” It’s a tight-knit group. Many of the players have known each other for years having played with or against each other throughout high school and youth hockey.
This is the fifth season of Club Hockey at OCC. The team competes in the Upstate New York Club Hockey League along with 13 other colleges and universities. Most of their opponents come from four-year colleges and universities. Players bring their own equipment. The club provides uniforms.
OCC’s practices and plays home games at the Onondaga Nation’s sparkling Tsha’Hon’nonyen’dakhwa’ Arena, a facility Le Moyne’s club hockey team also calls home. Charlie Boynton is in his first season coaching OCC’s team. Boynton is a former college hockey player at Niagara University and retired Syracuse Firefighter. “Central New York is a great spot for hockey,” said Boynton. “We have a great bunch of guys and we’re playing in a good league with good competition. There is some really good skill in the league and on our team.”
For some the dream of playing varsity college hockey is a goal. “If you come in here and play really well you never know,” said Marty Martino, an OCC Professor and Faculty Advisor for the team. “We play a lot of four-year schools with varsity teams. There are opportunities out there for kids to be noticed.”
The mission now is to spread the word about the team and turn it into support in the stands. Below is the schedule for the remainder of the season. The OCC Club Hockey team looks forward to seeing you soon!
- Sat, Jan 23 at Union 9:15pm
- Sat, Jan 30 at Skidmore 6:30pm
- Sun, Jan 31 vs. Union at Onondaga Nation 6pm
- Mon, Feb 8 vs. Hobart at Onondaga Nation 9:15pm
- Sat, Feb 13 at Hobart 5pm