Misericordia Makes Plans for Inaugural Ice Hockey Season


Alyssa Black, Reporter

Misericordia University is expected to add men’s ice hockey in fall 2024.

There are little finalized decisions when it comes to the team and finding a coach is at the top of Director of Athletics Chuck Edkins’ priorities.

“It’s funny because we’re working, right now, with human resources to finish the job posting,” said Edkins. “And then we would like to have someone in play by the end of the semester at the latest, so that they can recruit throughout the summer, fall and winter of ’23 and early ’24.” 

Though a coach is yet to be appointed, Edkins knows what qualities to look for in that person.

“We want someone with a hockey background, obvious statement,” he said. “But, you know, there’s always a preference given to someone who has played the sport at the collegiate level, someone who has been involved in coaching at the collegiate level – assistant coach or head coach – or some comparable experience.” 

Kristin Gallagher, a junior Psychology major, thinks the addition is a wise decision by Misericordia officials.

“I think it will be a good addition to the school because it’ll be another exciting sport for students to watch and support,” she said. “And it can draw more potential students to coming to the university if they want to play college ice hockey.” 

The addition of ice hockey has been in discussion since the arrival of Dr. Dan Myers.

Edkins said the new team is a plus for students and the university because it may increase enrollment.

“We want to keep ourselves financially stable,” he said. “And the good thing is we are, but is there more that we can do to keep up moving forward and attract more students? Ice hockey is one of those things.” 

There is an excitement by students and Edkins said a couple of currently enrolled students have shown an interest in joining the team.

Rory Scialabba, a sophomore Sports Management major, is thrilled to hear about the addition.

“I’m excited. I’m excited for a new team to be on campus,” he said. “And the best part is, I’ll be here when it actually happens in 2024.” 

The new team will practice and play at the Toyota SportsPlex in Wilkes-Barre which is where the AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Wilkes University and Wyoming Seminary College Preparatory School play. The Cougars will also have the opportunity to practice at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

“We have signed an agreement with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Penguins,” Edkins added. “They’re located on Coal Street. There will be some times though, that we will be able to practice at the arena. But we’ll do all our games and our remaining practices at Coal Street.” 

Along with the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) to which all NCAA sports at the university belong, the men’s ice hockey team will join the United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC).

“We have six hockey playing schools on the men’s side in the MAC,” Edkins said. “But at that time, that’s not enough to get an automatic bid if you win the MAC championship. So, if you win the MAC championship, that’s great, but that’s where it ends. So, we also belong to the UCHC. That collegiate hockey conference does afford the winner to go to the NCAA tournament.”

In preparation of the inaugural season, a lot needs to be done. From a staffing and facility perspective, serious additions need to be made.

“So right now, the key factor is to get a coach,” Edkins said. “Other things that we will need to do, we’ll need to make a final application to the UCHC. And then the next part, we’ll deal with the hockey equipment. We’ll need to add an additional athletic trainer and a graduate assistant. We have to find office space for these individuals. So, we have it a little bit all over the place.” 

This entire process has been a learning experience for Edkins. 

“It was interesting to learn what works best for the university,” he said. “So, you learn a little bit about infrastructure, you learn a little about staffing, you learn a little bit more about collaborating and working with your president and vice president of finance to see what the best options are for the university, to keep us moving forward.”