With a rich history and a legacy of excellence, the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point is known for producing some of the most disciplined and talented leaders in the country. But in recent years, the spotlight has shifted from their traditional role as leaders in the military to their emergence as a powerhouse in the world of hockey.
Under the guidance of head coach Brian Riley, son of legendary coach Jack Riley, Army hockey has experienced unparalleled success in the NCAA Division I men’s hockey league. In the past five years alone, they have won two Atlantic Hockey Conference championships and have consistently finished among the top teams in the league. But what is most impressive about this team is not just their wins and statistics, but the culture and values that they embody on and off the ice.
The History of Army Hockey
The history of Army hockey dates back to the early 1920s, when the team was first established. But it wasn’t until Jack Riley took over as head coach in 1950 that the team truly flourished. Under his leadership, Army hockey became a dominant force in the college hockey scene, winning several championships and producing talented players who went on to play professionally.
After his retirement, his son Brian took over as head coach in 2004, and has continued the legacy of excellence set forth by his father. With a dedicated coaching staff and talented players, the team has continued to develop and improve each year, making Army hockey a force to be reckoned with in the league.
Discipline and Hard Work
One of the key factors contributing to Army’s success is the culture of discipline and hard work that is instilled in the players. As a military institution, West Point prides itself on the values of discipline, selflessness, and commitment, and these values are integrated into every aspect of the hockey program.
From rigorous training and fitness programs to the strict adherence to team rules and schedules, Army players are well-prepared both mentally and physically for the challenges they face on and off the ice. This commitment to discipline and hard work has translated into success on the ice, as the team consistently outworks their opponents and maintains a strong level of intensity throughout the game.
A Brotherhood on the Ice
Another defining aspect of Army hockey is the sense of brotherhood and camaraderie that exists among the players. As a military institution, West Point places a strong emphasis on teamwork and the idea of one team, one mission. This mentality is carried over into the team, where players strive to support and uplift each other both on and off the ice.
This strong sense of unity has helped create a special bond among the players, resulting in a cohesive and effective team dynamic. The team chemistry is evident on the ice, as each player knows his role and is willing to do whatever it takes for the team to succeed. This selflessness and commitment to the team is a crucial component of Army’s success.
A Supportive Community
Army hockey has not only become a dominant force on the national level, but it has also garnered immense support and recognition from its surrounding community. With a passionate fan base and a strong alumni network, the team has received overwhelming support from people both within and outside of West Point.
The annual Army-Navy game, where Army faces off against its long-standing rival Navy, has become a highly anticipated event attended by thousands of fans. The team also participates in the One Vet, One Jersey program, where each player sponsors a veteran who has sacrificed for the country by wearing their name on their jersey during a game.
The support from the community not only fuels the team’s motivation and drive, but also reinforces their values of service, honor and sacrifice.
With a strong foundation of discipline, hard work, and team unity, Army hockey has truly become a dynasty in the making. Their success on the ice is a testament to the values and culture that are deeply ingrained in the team, and it is no surprise that they continue to dominate in the league.
But more than just their achievements on the ice, what makes Army hockey truly special is the sense of pride and honor that they bring to the game. With a rich history and unwavering commitment to their values, Army hockey is not just a hockey team, but a symbol of excellence and leadership that will continue to inspire for years to come.