Women’s hockey club growing at SDSU

Faith Moldan

Faith Moldan

Women’s hockey may not have the big hits that men’s hockey does, but that has not taken away the appeal of playing for many female students on campus. In its third year, the Women’s Hockey Club has 19 players. The team has seen numbers jump from 10 the first year, and 12 last year.

Rachael Person, a founding member of the team, has been with the squad all three years. She played hockey in high school in Pierre and discovered that once she got to SDSU, she still wanted to play.

“I found out what I had to do to start a team and contacted others,” Person said.

Jessie Kuechenmeister, Alyssa Clasen, Rae Granbois and Melissa Anderson helped Person start the team. Anderson serves as the team’s public relations manager.

Person said many of the team members played in high school, but a couple of players have never played at all.

“We have no problem teaching them how to (play). We have a wide variety of skill on the team, and we have a wide variety of players from around this part of the country,” she said.

The team is young this year, with four freshmen starters and six freshmen total. Players and coaches are excited about the number of younger players, as the team does not have to worry about losing many players to graduation. Person said she hopes as the years go on, more girls will start to notice that SDSU has an official team. Many of the current members became involved through word of mouth.

An official club sport, the team has three coaches: Heath Issacson, Chris Weyman and Dallas Shearer. Issacson, the team’s head coach, said if people attend a women’s game expecting to see guy’s hockey, they will be disappointed.

“The speed of the game is different. There is more stick handling and positioning,” he said.

Person said, “We still play an interesting game and have been known to get in fights. Fans who are interested in the sport should come to watch just to get a different aspect of the game.”

Issacson played on the men’s team at SDSU for five years and also coaches the high school girl’s team in Brookings. He said that as a coach, he has to have a different mindset then when he was a player.

“You have to be aware of the little things,” he said.

The women’s team plays at Larson Ice Arena many of the same nights as the men’s team, and does not charge fans admission. Playing before or after the men, the women’s team hopes that fans come early or stay later to watch the women play.

The team split a set of weekend games with NDSU Dec. 3 and 4. SDSU lost 7-5 the first night and won in overtime 4-3 the second.

“They out shot us,” Issacson said. “We have two more next weekend in North Dakota. We’re evenly matched (with NDSU).”

SDSU beat Northern State in a scrimmage earlier this season, 12-1. The team has a full schedule of games in January, starting with tentative games with Colorado Jan. 13 and 14. They play at Rainy River Community College Jan. 21 and 22, and at home versus Rainy River Jan. 28 and 29.