BY COLE MCNANNA // MARCH 2, 2015 //
Curry College is getting closer and closer to finally having a women’s ice hockey team.
Prospective and current students have long sought a women’s hockey team, and the college is finally ready to invest in one. According to Kerry Antunes, associate director of the Fitness Center & Recreation, Curry is in the process of hiring a coach. The college already features 14 varsity sports—seven for men and seven for women—as well as club sports in equestrian, cheerleading and men’s rugby.
“We got about 10 candidates who were seriously interested in coaching here, from all types of backgrounds—other colleges, other club teams and even some boys’ coaches,” said Antunes. “So we invited three of the strongest candidates to come and interview with us to finally get a coach.”
She declined to say what the annual budget is for the new hockey team, noting that the figure hasn’t yet been finalized.
Freshman nursing major Jacquelyn Nolan has played hockey most of her life. She was a member of the Duxbury (Mass.) High School girls’ hockey team, and won four state championships.
“I have had a fair share of coaches, so honestly I am very happy that we are going through such an intensive process to find an all-around great coach to help get this program off and running,” Nolan said.
Curry’s upstart club team has about 15 players and is currently overseen by Curry intramural coordinator Tom Verrico. The players typically skate Sunday nights and late evenings during the week, Nolan said, and have had to pay for ice time themselves. They usually skate and practice in Randolph, approximately 10 miles from campus.
“We have had a few skates here and there, and Tom has been a huge supporter of this program,” said Nolan. “He has driven us to the rink…and has also skated with us, putting us through some pickup scrimmages and a few drills here and there.”
Antunes said the team hopes to join the Independent College Women’s Hockey League (ICWHL), which includes Endicott, Salem State, Colby Sawyer and Westfield State, among others. “The league is really a feeder league for the schools to eventually join the rest of their varsity programs in their respected leagues,” she added. “So, it’s a good level of competition for us to build from.”
Said Nolan: “I know that we have a decent amount of talent as of now because some of the girls played with me in the SEMGHL [Southeastern Massachusetts Girls Hockey League] all through high school….Although this year is just the developing year, I know that we will have loads of talent coming through next year because there is so much interest in women’s club hockey.”
And that, ultimately, is a major reason for the club’s existence: an enrollment draw for prospective students.
As for the students themselves, one of the major goals is for the team to eventually achieve varsity status. “It’s definitely my goal to be able to get that one year of varsity hockey in while I am here at Curry College,” said Nolan. “So, I am going to do everything in my power to bring this club to where we can achieve that goal.”