9/19: 10:45PM CST
9/20: 4:00PM CST
East Alton Ice Arena
East Alton, IL
New Look Hoosiers Begin 2014-2015 Season
7 months have passed since the Hoosiers last took the ice in February when their 2013-2014 season came to an end following a 7-1 loss and an early knockout in the 70/71 tournament against rival Xavier. The loss was a microcosm of the season that had just passed, a season of underachievement.
The Hoosiers came into the 2013-2014 season with a roster loaded with talent, and a quick 2-0 start with a sweep over Vanderbilt looked to be a sign of things to come. However, as the season progressed, the team regressed.
The Hoosiers finished the season with an 11-13-0-1 record, and a lot of questions that needed to be answered. With a new executive board elected shortly following the 70/71 tournament, the off-season quickly turned into one of major alterations.
As the Hoosiers were beginning their off-season, the Columbus Icemen were starting a playoff run that would end with an Indiana High School 5A State Runner-Up finish as well as an appearance at the USA High School Hockey National Championships.
Under the direction of head coach Rich Gordon, the Icemen had profound success over the past 8 years, and the Hoosiers took notice. Shortly following the end of the Icemen's season, the Hoosiers offered Gordon the head coach position, which he accepted. He was ready for the challenge.
"For me, it was time to move on from the Icemen, but I knew I wasn’t done coaching,” Gordon said. “It was a matter of figuring out where I wanted to go, what opportunities were out there, but these guys from IU contacted me out of the blue. It wasn’t even on my radar screen. It seemed like a good opportunity."
Gordon brought along Gary Bland and John Morris as his assisstant coaches to round out the Hoosiers new coaching staff.
To follow up on the addition of new coaches, the program's next goal was the addition of a new conference. In the past 5 years that the Hoosiers have played at the Division 3 level, they have acted as an independent program with no conference.
When talks began between the other Indiana teams, IPFW, Purdue, and Ball State, about coming together to form a conference, IU was all in. Thus, the Indiana Collegiate Hockey Conference (ICHC) was born.
The ICHC will give the Indiana teams not only the chance to earn more credibility in rankings, but also the right to fight for the crown of being the best team in the state of Indiana at the ICHC Conference tournament in February.
To add to the madness of the new coaching staff and conference, the Hoosiers have added 11 new players to this years roster, including 7 freshman.
Although the team now features a new coaching staff, new conference, and almost half a roster of new players, the same goal still remains to bring a national championship to Bloomington. In the past 45 years of hockey at Indiana University, the Hoosiers have made it to the national championship game 5 times, but have never came back with the national title.
It'll be a long trek for this new team to stand atop the mountain alone, but the path looks clearer than ever. The team hopes to pick up some accolades on the way, namely the inagural ICHC title.
The first steps down this new path begin this weekend when, fittingly, the Hoosiers play a new team that they have never seen before in the McKednree Bearcats.
What to Watch For
The big key to watch for this weekend will be to see how quickly this new team can come together and begin to implement coach Gordon's systems with just a few weeks of practice under their belt. It will be crucial for the veterans on this team to set the tone early in the weekend to help pave the way for the players who will be making their collegiate debuts this weekend. A strong early start to the weekend will go a long way if IU wants to come out of this weekend with a pair of wins.
The McKednree Bearcats come into this weekend's matchup with a 1-1 record after splitting a weekend series with the Saint Louis Billikens on Sept 12-13. The Bearcats won a thriller on Friday night when they won in OT 8-7. However, they would drop Saturday's matinee by a score of 6-3. The Bearcats will be playing in their home opener when IU comes to town this weekend, and will be looking to come out strong early to defend their home ice.
This is the first ever meeting between the two programs.
2010 - present
2010 - present