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Schoolcraft Connection

The Student News Site of Schoolcraft College

Schoolcraft Connection

The Student News Site of Schoolcraft College

Schoolcraft Connection

Getting back on the ice

Schoolcraft to bring back hockey under athletics department for 2024-25 season
Summer Sultana
Schoolcraft College will be relaunching its Ice Hockey team in the Fall of 2024 this time officially as an Intercollegiate Sports in the Athletics Department.

Exciting things are happening here at Schoolcraft for fall 2024. The men’s ice hockey team is back and will be lacing up their skates as a part of the athletics program. 

It’s been four years since Schoolcraft housed a team which was an independent club team from 2015-2020 formed through the Student Activities Office. The team was initially created in the fall of 2015 by three students, Andrew Lindsay, Sheldon Varhol and Brendan Barger. Unfortunately in March 2020 the Ocelots were put on ice due to the start of the global pandemic and it wasn’t until 2023 that the program was moved to the athletics department and will debut in the ACHA as a team come fall 2024. Taking over the program is Dan Phelps who brings 24 years of coaching experience to the team. Phelp’s passion pours out to the teams of young men he coaches. 

Dan Phelps (right) shown here during prospects skates in January 2024, will be the head coach for the Ocelots Hockey team. (Summer Sultana)

“The biggest thing you get out of coaching is the relationship you create with your players, getting to know them from outside of hockey or the recruiting process.” 

He also loves this cliche quote about coaching, “They don’t care how much you know, till they know how much you care.” He uses this tactic daily as a coach. Assuring your team that you believe in them only strengthens bonds. Seeing them succeed is the joy he continually gets. 

Phelps feels like hockey and coaching isn’t his priority but rather a delight in his day-to-day life. “I’m not really in the business of coaching hockey, I’m in the business of raising young men and hockey is just something be both like.” 

Recruiting has been a long process since this past November. Forming a team takes more than just the skills. It includes communication, knowing the athletes and connecting with them. Phelps agrees with this statement because he stands by creating powerful and joyous teams. 

“We’re continuing to build our roster through outwatching games, talking with other coaches, meeting players, meeting their families, letting them come see the campus, getting them involved and making sure that Schoolcraft is the right fit for them.” 

The team is currently being constructed, with roughly a third of the men locked in. Phelps and his staff are looking to roster 20- 25 players. Since the start of the new year, there have been three prospect skate sessions to recruit members for the team with roughly 30-40 attendees each session. 

He wants a team full of players who are driven and have a pathway in life. Their academics plays a huge role in that. This isn’t made for the weak, nothing about this is easy but Phelps knows that this does work. 

Having an ice hockey team on the list of intercollegiate sports offered on campus opens up many opportunities. This is for athletes, coaching jobs and a fan base. 

Phelps had this position brought to his attention and could not leave it hanging. 

“My visions and the College’s visions lined up, I’ve been very impressed with the administration and the athletic department.” 

The staff here supported the team and made efforts for the beginning of the season. Bringing this program back will definitely benefit the athletes and coaches. Furthermore, this creates outlooks for other things to come in future years. 

Those who have reached out to the coaching staff about joining the team have been playing for many years and at various levels. Many are fresh out of high school, just about to graduate or some have experience in other leagues and levels and are looking for a fresh start. Phelps is presuming that his team will be very full of energy, which creates character. In any group of people standing out amongst the others is a great quality. 

Additional tryouts are planned in April. All dates are tentative, but the intent is all athletes with interest get the opportunity to show 

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Summer Sultana, Staff Photographer

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