The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Looking Back on the 2023-24 Men’s Hockey Season

Colgate Athletics / Olivia Hokanson

The Colgate University men’s ice hockey season wrapped up a few weeks ago after an early ECAC quarterfinal playoff exit. Following an opening-round bye, Colgate faced St. Lawrence in a best-of-three series. Unfortunately, they fell in a 0-2 losing series record against St. Lawrence. Both games proved to be a great match-up, with two one-goal games, including a double overtime game. The players shared their takeaways from the season and discussed the valuable traits that will bring the team success in the 2024-2025 season.

The men’s hockey team, despite an unsuccessful run for the ECAC title, finished the season with a 16-16-4 record and a 13-7-2 conference record. Positioned at No. 3 in the ECAC standings, they showed remarkable resilience, a sentiment shared by the players.

Sophomore Simon Labelle, a forward from Ontario, Canada, felt that the team’s perseverance and adaptability formed an underlying success. 

“We didn’t get the results we wanted, but overall I think that the team adjusted to the new coaching staff well and we kept on getting better throughout the season,” Labelle said. “For that reason, I think the season was a good step for our team to succeed next season.”

Labelle highlighted the program’s head coach change after previous head coach Don Vaughan retired following the 2022-2023 season. Vaughan left the program as the winningest coach in Colgate Men’s Hockey history. Following a monumental tenure, Vaughan placed the team into the hands of Head Coach Mike Harder. Through the team’s coaching staff transition, the players faced growing pains marking a rough 2-4-1 start to the season.

Sophomore forward Daniel Panetta spoke to the team’s resilience through the challenging start. 

“We did some great things adapting to a great new coaching staff,” Panetta said. “We got a first-round bye for the first time in years, so [there were] definitely some ups and downs, but a lot to build off for the years to come.”

The program’s future for next season seems promising, as the Raiders maintain a balance of experience across the roster. The team holds a distribution of players from each class, which brings both developed leadership and promise for future success.

Junior forward Ben Raymond discussed the bittersweet passing of the torch that the end of the season brings. 

“We are losing some key players from this past season, but younger guys have embraced stepping up to the plate and [have] delivered,” said Raymond.

Panetta shared how the team hopes to build off their successes thus far by illustrating the established team culture.

“To achieve that success, we had one saying: ‘Be A Pro,’ meaning no matter how your day might be going or anything, when you enter the rink, you focused on the task at hand,” Panetta said. “I believe this had everyone being focused and wanting to better themselves and everyone every day.”

In the context of next season, the team’s saying aids their campaign to secure an ECAC title for the 2024-2025 season. After finishing the 2022-2023 season as ECAC champions, the Raiders are hungry for another taste of success. The Colgate men’s hockey team hopes to see their goals come to fruition through another ECAC title. The team holds rigorous training plans for the offseason to cultivate their high expectations.

Raymond shared the framework for the intensive “Be A Pro” initiative heading into the offseason. 

“Our practice will be extremely high tempo and energy next season and we will be competing against each other every day to improve one another,” Raymond said. 

With a lot of work ahead of them, the Colgate men’s hockey team will remain in training until next season. The program possesses a promising outlook for next season as Head Coach Mike Harder builds off of this year’s successful first season in his head coaching career.

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