From BG Falcon Media
By Nick Bowers
When you think of BGSU Hockey, you probably think of Friday and Saturday nights at Slater Family Ice Arena, the “Bleacher Creatures” student section, the rich traditions of the program.
However, the men’s team is not the only BGSU team to call the Slate home.
The BGSU Women’s Club Hockey team finished their fourth season of operation back in February, ending the campaign with a split series against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
As a club sport, the Falcons compete in division two of the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) in the CCWHA conference.
For those unfamiliar with the concept of collegiate club sports, the BGSU Office of Student Engagement defines club sports as providing “as much competition against other universities like NCAA, but is much less of a time commitment.
Club sports are “pay for play” and offer an opportunity to any student interested in joining, whereas the NCAA does not.”(1) Team funds for operations such as equipment, ice rental, travel expenses, and more are mainly drawn from member dues, and supplemented by what funding they receive from the university.
The team budget is further bolstered by fundraising efforts, and during BGSU’s “One-Day”, the women’s team raised just under $4,000 during the 36 hour effort.
As of the 2022-2023 season, the team sports twelve full-time skaters, one full-time goaltender, and one player, Khloe Yunker, who split time between the pipes and skating out.
While less than other, longer established women’s hockey programs, this is an improvement from the prior season, in which the team had only seven skaters and one goalie.
First year defensemen Keira Ellenberger mentioned how she ended up with the team at BGSU.
“I saw that they (BGSU) had a visual communications technology program which is what I wanted to study and I also saw that they had a women’s hockey team, which is what I wanted to continue to do,” Ellenberger said. “I was like ‘that sounds like a great school’ so I ended up coming here.”
Reagan Gargac, a defensemen from Columbus, Ohio, also shared her story on coming to BG and joining the team.
“I found out they had a criminal justice program and the brand new BCI (Bureau of Criminal Investigation) building, and I saw they had a women’s hockey team which was important to me, but my parents went here,” Gargac said. “They were Falcon Flames… so I’ve grown up coming to BG football and hockey games for as long as I’ve been alive.”
While the team certainly has faced adversity, its members remain optimistic about the future of the program, and thankful for the experiences it has provided them so far.
“I’ve loved this team ever since I joined it it; it’s like have a brand new family and getting all new sisters and everything,” Ellenberger said. “This is the first time I’ve been with an actual (all) women’s hockey team and I’ve absolutely loved the environment.”
Gargac was similarly happy with her experiences with the team.
“The girls on the team have been so welcoming and it’s so great being able to play with everyone who loves the sport as much as I do,” Gargac said. “I would do anything for the girls on the team.”
Team captain, junior defenseman Jenna Mueller, similarly enjoys her time with the team,
“I’ve made a majority of my best friends from the team,” Mueller said.
When asked about how next year will go, the girls were optimistic.
Mueller said the potential for next season reflects the improvement they’ve already made over the years.
”Even the first year to the second year, it’s changed dramatically,” Mueller said. “If we’re conditioned and ready to go, I think it’s only gonna keep moving up.”
The women’s team begins games in early October, with practices beginning at the start of the fall semester.
Anyone interested in joining the program can find the relevant contact information on the team’s page via the BGSU Club Sports Office.
(Originally published at https://bgfalconmedia.com/149312/sports/bgsu-womens-club-hockey-building-momentum-ready-to-improve-next-year/)