Ice Hockey Club Team Wins Conference Title

The Charger Bulletin


When the UNH ice hockey club was started, head coach T.J. Schatz conceded that the team was “the whipping post of the league.” The team took its lumps but continued to improve. And four seasons later they are champions of the Northeast Collegiate Hockey Association.

“It was amazing, a true sense of validity,” said Schatz, whose squad defeated Rhode Island College, 4-1, last month in Nashua, N.H., to capture the crown. “It is an even greater feeling winning with some of the players who were there from the beginning.”

The NECHA, a member of the American Collegiate Hockey Association, is a northeast regional intercollegiate ice hockey league representing college and university teams from all six New England states and eastern New York.

UNH finished the season with a 17-5-1 record – including a 9-0-1 mark at home.

“The team was started five years ago by players who were interested in bringing it up to NCAA potential,” said Ben Borelli ’13, a defenseman from West Haven who has been playing hockey for 17 years, including all four at UNH. “Capturing the NECHA conference championship is a huge stepping stone for the program.”

Coach Schatz says a big reason for the team’s success is the close ties among the players.

In December, together with members of the UNH lacrosse squad, the team visited Newtown, Conn., to spend time with area youth reeling from the tragedy that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School. In addition to reading books and playing games, the players also distributed teddy bears and food.

“Our team has always had a great bond,” Schatz said. “That’s why it was so natural for these boys to come together and help those who needed it. It certainly brought us even closer. As a parent, it was gratifying to see these boys donate time to such a worthy cause. The feeling of pride they displayed was even more rewarding.”

Ian Alexander ’13, a forward from Annandale, Va, echoed his coach’s feelings saying that the Newtown experience served to solidify an already strong team unit – though he admitted to some initial trepidation about making the trip.

“I was honestly a little nervous,” Alexander said. “I thought the visit might have been too soon. We went only three days after it happened, so I didn’t know how the community would accept us, and I was a little hesitant to go.

“But, I’m so glad I did. It was an amazing experience and really rewarding not only for us but for the kids and parents and other volunteers as well.”