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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

UMass Boston Men’s Hockey Preview

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Belisle has revived a once dismal hockey program

Coach Peter Belisle has been at UMass Boston since 2006, but this past off-season he saw something he has never seen before. He witnessed the graduation of the school’s first four-year hockey players of his coaching era. Three of the four graduating seniors were the same freshman who made up the core leaders from Belisle’s first year at Umass Boston. Their graduation is symbolic of Belisle’s hard work and success in rebuilding the hockey program. Forward Kris Kranzky, goaltender Ryan Donovan, and defenseman Steve Ebbole were there from the very beginning. Not only did the “core-three” help their coach field a competitive team, they also helped reshape an embattled program.

 

 ”I think it’s so important in college athletics, the continuity”, said Belisle.  “I’m proud that the guys have stayed here for four years, and we’ve built that tradition. We’re not a transient team anymore.”

 

Coach Belisle arrived on the heels of a demoralizing 0-25 season. His first team was dominated by underclassmen that were forced to step into vacant leadership roles on a team with no seniors and only a handful of juniors.

 

“Four years ago, our best players were freshman. Donovan, Ebbole and Kransky, they helped really start to change the program, but it’s not easy to win consistently when your best players are your youngest players”, said Belisle. 

 

To say the Beacons were in a rebuilding mode would have been an understatement. The team was written off, dismissed, and generally ignored. Competing in one of the best non-division one-hockey conferences in the country, some outsiders predicted the program would not last. Their total of five wins that season, which happened to be Belisle’s preseason goal, was a major moral victory. The 2006 season was the all important first step in a long journey.

 

Since then, the Beacons have gone on to win at least 10 games in each season. This includes an over-time loss in the conference championship game in 2009. Belisle’s goal for 2011? Win the ECAC championship and advance to the national tournament.

 

“There are teams around here that are getting it done. Baseball, volleyball…women’s soccer is having a great run. I want to be like them. I want that for us.”

 

Now, as coach Belisle enters his fifth season at Umass Boston, he has for the first time a team with more upperclassmen than underclassmen.

 

“Finally we are going to be an experienced team and that is something I have never had the opportunity to work with.” Belisle explained. “Now, having the Tuffmans, the Atsoffs, the Jaconas, and Calhouns be seniors… and our big junior class… even our

goaltending is going to be a junior/senior tandem. That’s just exciting.”

 

Because there is no division-two in college hockey, and spots are limited in division-one, the Beacons and their opponents are competing at a very high level. Coach Belisle and his team are poised to take the next step, and compete with the best division-three schools in the country as equals and not as underdogs.

 

Establishing a culture of winning is important, but that isn’t the only thing that matters to Belisle.

 

“I’m proud of the fact that we won the men’s Einstein award for the highest large men’s sports team GPA two years in a row. We want to be good students, good citizens, and hopefully make them good men, good family men, and good dads some day.”

 

The Beacons open the season on November 19th at Bowdoin and their first home game will be on November 23d vs. Framingham State, at the Clark Athletic Center.