The name Colgate may bring to mind images of toothpaste and oral care, but for the small town of Hamilton, New York, the name brings a different connotation – hockey. The Colgate University Men’s Ice Hockey team has been a dominant force in the college hockey world, consistently ranking among the top teams in the nation and producing numerous NHL players. This rise to success has not been overnight, but rather a result of hard work, dedication, and a commitment to excellence that is ingrained in the Colgate hockey program. Let’s take a closer look at how Colgate has established itself as a dynasty in the making.
From Humble Beginnings
The roots of Colgate Men’s Ice Hockey can be traced back to 1900, when the university fielded its first hockey team. Over the years, the team experienced some ups and downs, including a brief hiatus due to World War II. But it wasn’t until the 1960s that Colgate really began to make a name for itself in the world of college hockey.
In 1964, Colgate joined the ECAC (Eastern College Athletic Conference), a conference that boasts some of the top college hockey programs in the country. This move proved to be a pivotal point in the team’s history, as it gave Colgate the opportunity to compete against some of the best teams in the nation on a regular basis. The team’s success in the ECAC only continued to grow from there.
The ’89-’90 Season: A Turning Point
The late ’80s and early ’90s marked a turning point for Colgate hockey. In the ’89-’90 season, the team made it to the NCAA Division I tournament for the first time in program history. Although they were ultimately defeated, this momentous occasion sparked a fire in the team and community, igniting a passion and drive to continue building and improving the program.
Under the leadership of head coach Terry Slater, who had been with the program since 1988, Colgate hockey continued to make strides, reaching the NCAA tournament again in 1992 and 1995. Slater’s coaching, along with the amazing talent on the team, brought national attention and recognition to the small college in Upstate New York.
The Raider Revolution
In 2011, Colgate welcomed a new head coach, Don Vaughan, who would lead the team to what has been referred to as the Raider Revolution. Vaughan brought a new focus and intensity to the team, emphasizing discipline and hard work both on and off the ice. His philosophy paid off, as Colgate won the ECAC regular season championship in the 2013-2014 season and made it to the Frozen Four, the NCAA’s national semifinal, for the first time ever.
Since then, the team has continued to dominate in the ECAC, winning the conference championship in 2018 and making multiple appearances in the NCAA tournament. Along with Vaughan’s leadership, the team has also seen tremendous talent from players such as Kyle Baun, Tyson Spink, and fellow ECAC Player of the Year recipients Chris Wagner and Adam D’Alba.
The Raiders of the Lost Arc
One of the most impressive aspects of the Colgate hockey program is its ability to consistently produce NHL-level talent. The team has had over 70 players go on to play in the NHL, including notable alumni such as Andy McDonald, Mark Dekanich, and current star Tyler Pitlick. This track record of success has attracted top recruits to the program, further solidifying Colgate’s reputation as a powerhouse in college hockey.
The secret behind this success? A combination of dedicated coaches, a supportive community, and a hardworking and talented group of players who strive for excellence both on and off the ice. Colgate’s commitment to developing well-rounded individuals and fostering a culture of continuous improvement sets it apart from other college hockey programs.
A Bright Future
As the Colgate hockey program continues to grow and evolve, the future remains full of promise. With a talented and experienced group of players returning for the upcoming season, the team is poised to continue its dominance in the ECAC and make another run at the NCAA tournament. The support and dedication of the Colgate community and the strong foundation built by the coaching staff ensure that the team is well on its way to becoming a longstanding dynasty in college hockey.
Colgate’s rise to success in the college hockey world is a testament to the power of hard work, dedication, and a commitment to excellence. From its humble beginnings, the team has built a legacy that continues to thrive, with no signs of slowing down. As we eagerly await the start of the next hockey season, one thing is for certain – Colgate will continue to be a force to be reckoned with on the ice, and a dynasty in the making.