Kingsmen Hockey Club is back and ‘expanding’


Photo by Lauren DeRosa- Reporter

The Cal Lutheran Hockey Club is back after losing a season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lauren DeRosa, Reporter

The Cal Lutheran Kingsmen Hockey club is back on the ice after a season lost to COVID-19, and they have grown significantly since the 2019-2020 season. 

Cal Lutheran hosts many talented teams in their athletic department, but the hockey club is not one of those teams. The team is not a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, which does not grant them funding from the university’s athletic department. The lack of funding does not dampen this team’s spirit, though they would like to be an official team sponsored by the university. 

Currently, the only funding sources for the team are those from the Associated Students of California Lutheran University Government and the dues members pay to play. 

Keith Walker, senior assistant captain and president of the club, has been a member since his first year at Cal Lutheran. During the 2019-2020 season, seven seniors graduated, leaving the team with several vacant spots to be filled by the incoming freshman that year, said Walker.
“We are expanding. This is the most players we have ever had on the ice,” Walker said. 

He explained that previously, the team also accepted students from Moorpark College to fill all the spots on the team, but now the team is full and has even made history at Cal Lutheran.

The team is now a “pure CLU team,” as well as a “strong sophomore group,” Walker said.

This season, the Kingsmen Hockey team has welcomed two Regals to the team.

“We hope to expand on that, welcome any ladies that have played ice hockey before, or want to learn ice hockey,” Walker said. 

The team recruits players mostly by word of mouth. Junior Michael “Mikey” Cassara, captain of the team as well as club secretary, explained that having connections is everything.

“We meet kids at the rink, we hear things from current players,” Cassara said. 

Walker added that being a member of the West Coast Hockey Club has helped to facilitate networking.

“There is a training camp for incoming juniors and seniors in high school. We actively recruit there, we send a rep. We try and get them to apply [to Cal Lutheran] and help with their applications,” Walker said.  

The team is incredibly close due to the uniqueness of the team. Sophomore Blake Hanlon, who is assistant coach and financial advisor of the club, said that “because hockey is such an isolated sport it’s just great to have people like us on campus.” 

The 2021-2022 season started about a month ago and will continue until February.

The team has had to make adjustments after returning from their long break.

“Everyone came in ready to go. Being off last season, everyone definitely missed it, and wanted to get back on the ice. Everyone came focused on day one pretty much,” Walker said.

Because there are eight new members, the dynamic of the team has also been an adjustment. 

“We are getting the chemistry together. It’s gonna take a little bit…longer than I think we originally thought,” Cassara said. 

Along with the eight new recruits, the head coach and the assistant coach are new members as well. Richard Miner, assistant coach, was head coach for Ventura College and has 25 years of experience.

Brennan Fobel, originally from Canada, has been working with the team since last spring. He previously was coaching junior leagues, but says that the transition to college level hockey “has been really straightforward.” 

“The goal for our group is to be better tomorrow than we were yesterday,” Fobel said. 

Their next three games will be away from their home at the Simi Valley Iceoplex, but will return to the rink on Oct. 23 at 9:45 p.m. against California State University Bakersfield. Admission is free for Cal Lutheran students at home games.