UMD men’s hockey team prepares for 2023-24 season
DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) - Believe it or not, in just 24 days the Bulldogs will drop the first puck of their 2023-24 hockey season.
While they are installing half as many newcomers this year as they did last season, including 4 freshmen and two transfers, they will have double the amount of experience.
With a 26-man roster all led by 13 upperclassmen, age is not something that head coach Scott Sandelin is worried about as long as they understand that the time to perform is now.
“I told our team, we’re not waiting. We can’t wait for you to decide when you want to play. There’s guys that are chomping at the bit here, there’s some young guys that are passing some guys, and older guys that need to get going,” Sandelin said before talking about the expectations of each day. “We’ve got four weeks until we play. Every day is an evaluation. Every day is a grading scale. You can’t be good one day and then not good the next day, you saw a lot of that last year.”
One person who is chomping at this bit and demonstrates the University of Minnesota Duluth hockey culture better than most is 5th year forward and captain Luke Loheit.
“The Bulldog hockey motto is something we always preach, and that’s being here every day and coming to the rink and doing the same things, holding each other accountable, and trusting each other, and respecting each other, having confidence and poise,” said Loheit before explaining the values of the team. “Those are kind of the values we want to embody as far as identity and we will obviously continue to find that out as we go here.”
Despite the disappointment of last season, Coach Sandelin is just as optimistic for what lies ahead of this year as any other.
“I mean I’m not panicking because we had one bad year. You know everybody else is, I’m not, but again that’s ok because that’s where we build.”
Building a bulldog foundation with what Loheit says needs to be made up of two things.
“Just compete and comradery, I think those two things are what we are going to focus on,” said Loheit. “If we have those then we are going to be successful with the systems and the way we are doing things, but I think last year we kind of got away from it and ya know there’s maybe some more about me less about we and that’s not what bulldog hockey is.”
Now we can only hope that come this April they have established their bulldog identity and found their way right back here in this very arena as one of the four teams to compete in the 2024 men’s frozen faceoff.
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