MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – The NMU Women’s Hockey Club was preparing for a run at a national championship. The team found out on Thursday afternoon that the American Collegiate Hockey Association has canceled its tournament due to health concerns over the coronavirus.
Local 3’s Rebecca Bartelme met them at practice before they found out about the cancellation.
With classes canceled at Northern Michigan University, campus is quiet. But instead of sleeping in Thursday morning, the NMU Women’s Hockey Club is at the Berry Events Center hitting the ice.
“It’s for any college student that wants to continue their hockey career here,” said Jim Higgins, Head Coach, NMU Women’s Hockey Team. They’re pretty much doing it for the love of the game.”
“I definitely wanted to go to a college that had hockey,” said Isabella Oldani, Junior, Defense, NMU Women’s Hockey. “I’ve grown up with hockey. I’ve played it my entire life. I wanted to play at a collegiate level. I wasn’t ready to give it up. I just wanted to keep playing as long as I can because I love it. It’s my passion.”
And it’s this passion between all of the women that set them up for a successful season.
“Really have grown with this team and we’re making it all the way down to Texas to kind off show off our school so I think that’s really amazing,” said Faith Delgado, Freshman, Center, NMU Women’s Hockey.
“The girls are really fired up about it,” said Higgins. “So they’ve worked hard and we got the right mix of players this year.”
The team practices three times a week and has had about 55 of them so far this season. Their work even helped them win the league championship a couple of weeks ago against Michigan State.
“It’s a huge achievement for us,” said Oldani. “They are doing so well this season. It’s just an amazing feeling.”
Because they are self funded team, sending a team that far comes at a cost. The lady Wildcats were accepting donations to help with this effort.
“We’re not very noticed here at the university being a club sport,”said Oldani. “So it would give us a lot of recognition in the community and the community is such a great help around here that we encourage people to donate and I think it would be a good cause giving all of these girls an experience to go to nationals that we may never get again.”
Now that their trip to the championship is cut short, senior and team captain Sydney Higgins said in a statement; ” The cancellation of the ACHA National Championship Tournament has left me and my team extremely disappointed. In the beginning of the season we made a decision as a team that we were going to earn our spot in this tournament and we kept that in the back of our mind the entire season. We achieved our goal to earn our spot and now we will not have the opportunity to reach our next goal, which is to be national champions.
As a graduating senior, my heart is broken because of this news. Over the last four years I’ve put my heart and soul in this sport and organization and do not have the opportunity to finish my collegiate career as I wanted to. I wish my teammates the best of luck next season and want to thank them for the best senior year I could imagine.
The Northern Michigan University Women’s Hockey team and coaching staff wants to thank everyone from the bottoms of our hearts for the continuous support.”
To keep up with team on their Facebook Page, click here.