After a first round exit from the playoffs last year, the WVU Hockey team gave interested players an opportunity to tryout for the team over the weekend.
The tryout camp this weekend brought a lot of new faces. WVU lost only two seniors last year, but while the team returns a number of players, there are also a lot of new faces in the fold.
The camp lasted a total of three days and each day was a different. The first day of camp mainly consisted of puck handling, passing and many other drills to teach the players more.
“It’s a huge step-up from traveling hockey," said freshman tryout Connor Mackey.
On the second day of the camp was a scrimmage against each other. There were two sessions and a total of four teams.
The final day of the tryout camp was also scrimmage of all four teams and two sessions, which was the players' final chance to show the coaches what they could bring the team. By Sunday night, the players knew who made the cut and who did not.
Each day of practice brought another opportunity for the tryout participants to show the coaches of the team what they had to bring the team. With tryouts, not everyone is going to make the team as hard.
General manager Todd Gookin's gave players that were a cut a message to continue working towards potentially making the team another year.
"In life you can’t quit on it, you got to realize that maybe you didn’t get it this time and to focus on what you need to do until next time you do make it," Gookin said.
Gookin is looking for the veterans coming back to convey their insight and leadership around the newcomers.
“I am expecting they can pass that knowledge on to the young kids coming in, that this is my story last year, this the experience we have,” Gookin said.
Head coach A.J. Sturges, who formerly played as a defenseman at Michigan State, is entering his second year at the helm. He said he is really enjoying how many players came out to tryouts, many of which he has not met yet.
Sturges is looking to provide an excellent hockey experience for all involved.
“I really just want kids involved, regardless of what team you make or how many games you play, hockey can be an incredible experience for everybody," Sturges said.