Student plans to form ice hockey team


Patriot file photo

Dean of Professional Development Gary Scholl plays ice hockey with alumni on the frozen pond in Jan. 2013. Although JC has never had an ice hockey team, there remains a long tradition of playing hockey on the pond. Sophomore Helen Lortie plans to take this to the next level by creating an organized ice hockey team.

JC athletes currently compete on fields, tracks, and courts. Next year, sophomore Helen Lortie wants to bring competition somewhere else – the ice.

Lortie is organizing the start of an ice hockey team. Lortie has played ice hockey for six years and is hoping to play her seventh season in a black and gold uniform.

On Monday, Oct. 30, Lortie sent an email to the school community expressing her interest in starting an ice hockey team. The email included a survey for students to vote on their interest-level in playing hockey for school.

In the survey, Lortie asked, “If John Carroll were to start an Ice Hockey [sic] team as a winter sport, would you be interested?” and she was pleased with the results. “40 people said ‘Yes, definitely’ and 25 people said ‘I would have to see,’ which is a pretty good amount because only five people are on the ice at one time, not including the goalie,” she said.

Lortie is unsure whether JC would have a co-ed team, or separate men’s and women’s teams. Whether or not each gender has a team depends on how many students want to play.

Lortie plans on having the men’s and women’s teams practice with each other. “If we do a boys and a girls team, which is what I would like to have enough for both, and just practice together and share the ice,” Lortie said. She believes the team would practice at Ice World in Abingdon.

The MIAA, the league that male JC athletes compete in, has both an A and a B Conference for ice hockey.

There isn’t a local women’s ice hockey conference, but Lortie doesn’t see that being a problem. “Schools like St. Timothy’s and St. Paul’s … both have [women’s] ice hockey teams, and I’ve contacted both of them and they were like ‘Yeah, we could do all sorts of games with one another,’ because they’re not really in a league either,” she said.

Lortie isn’t tied up in the competition aspect of JC’s potential ice hockey team. “We’d be a beginner team … [Mount] St. Joseph is the one [school] who is always crushing and beating everyone, but they didn’t start out like that. They had to learn it,” she said.

Lortie was inspired to start an ice hockey team when she heard Principal Tom Durkin talk about his experience coaching at the beginning of this school year. “He mentioned how he’d been an ice hockey coach … and I was like that sounds like an interesting idea,” she said.

Durkin was the JV ice hockey coach at Loyola Blakefield for six years, and according to Durkin, he is interested in starting a team at JC and helping coach when he is free. “I’ll do my best [to help coach], it’s very difficult as a principal to provide that time,” he said.

However, Durkin believes a team can be put together. “If there’s enough student interest, why should we get in their way?” he said. Although Durkin is in favor of an ice hockey team, he will defer to Athletic Director Steve Teter before committing to a final decision.

With questions remaining, Teter is unsure if JC will have an ice hockey team next season. “We are certainly open to anything that will improve or make the students’ experience better here at John Carroll, but we have to make sure that everything is feasible for the school,” Teter said.

According to Lortie, starting an ice hockey team at JC would be expensive. “The issue really is the money. For one thing you have to rent ice time … I’m sure it’s gonna be a good amount of money. I’m not sure if the school would be willing to pay for our ice time or a portion of it,” she said.

New players would also have to buy equipment, and Lortie considers ice hockey an expensive sport. “Other sports you have maybe shoes or a racquet. For this, you have full on pads and skates, and they’re all pretty expensive,” she said.

Chris Roberts is a Sports Editor for The Patriot and