By Jeff Roberts
BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) – The U-Mary Hockey team is coming off the program’s first National Championship. A title three years in the making due to ACHA rules, it was an experience unlike any other.
Zach Garrett, U-Mary Captain: “When the buzzer went, and everyone’s celebrating, it’s crazy. It was just incredible to have this many people in the stands for how the year was.”
And it meant just as much for the city.
“Brought a lot of recognition to our community, brought a lot of recognition to our program.
We’ve got a lot of people who have reached out and talked to us since then, and talked about the games they attended, and how exciting it was. Especially to see the local kids that play for us and the success that we’ve had,” said Dan Huntley, U-Mary Hockey head coach.
And so the Zamboni resurfaces the ice for a new season.
As many teams have, there’s been some growing pains, but the reigning national coach of the year has no problem with where they’re at.
Huntley said: “Part of that I believe comes from not playing an opponent yet, and we have nothing to judge it on based on playing against the best team in the nation everyday. Which makes us better, but makes it frustrating for guys at the same time.”
One of the answered questions is defense. All six defenders return this season, including the ACHA tournament MVP in goal. In the program’s first three years, hot starts have spring boarded them into expected winning seasons.
“There’s an optimism from over the last three years where we’ve started off extremely well with 14, 15 and 16 game winning streaks to start the year. So there’s an expectation, but that’s also hard to meet,” said Huntley.
The Marauders start their season this weekend in Ames, Iowa, and return home Oct. 9 to raise the championship banner.
(Originally published at https://www.kfyrtv.com/2021/09/30/marauders-ready-try-repeat/)