By Renee DesPres, Staff Writer
UMF Seniors Ryan Lee and Tyler Hadyniak discussed how playing for the UMF Club Ice Hockey team has impacted their college experiences. Lee and Hadyniak have both played hockey since the age of four, and have been able to pursue their extracurricular passions at the college club level. Each of them joined the club team their junior year. Lee, an elementary education major, was a transfer student who found out about the club through friends. Hadyniak, a political science and psychology major, had other reasons for postponing to join. “I had come to UMF wanting to play, but was overloaded my freshman year and decided something had to go, so it was hockey,” said Hadyniak. “Now one of my only major regrets of college is not playing those first two years.”
The club plays 15 games per season (including playoffs), most of them taking place at Sukee Arena in Waterville. “I like it because that way games never interfere with classes or extracurricular activities during the school day,” said Hadyniak. Both players appreciate the qualities a club sport offers. “It’s laid back and we play to have fun,” said Lee. “It’s a great chance for people who want to learn more about the game to play, too.” Lee and Hadyniak are grateful for their club hockey experiences. “I’ve benefitted from this experience because I love playing hockey and it allowed me to continue playing,” said Lee.
“Being a captain on the team is very different than being a leader in student government or anything like that. It is a different style of leadership, one I relish the chance to practice,” said Hadyninak. “It’s also nice to get physical exercise while doing something you love.”
As far as the team camaraderie goes, “[It’s] very healthy,” said Hadyniak. “We all joke around and get along fine. Myself and the other senior leaders on the team work well together.” “We all play because we love the game and want to have fun,” said Lee. “It still does get pretty intense when we get into games because no one wants to lose and we always want to end up winning our league.” The club team currently holds a record of 1-2-1, and expects Colby to be their toughest opponent this season.
Coincidentally, the team is coached by Michael Keim, a 2014 alumnus of UMF, and former member of the club team. Keim described the club sport experience as being a compromise between varsity and intramural sports. “[There’s] more flexibility with time and commitment,” said Keim. “The team and the sport made my college experience forever memorable. I made life-long friends that I share great memories with and I hope to continue to do so as a coach.”
“It’s good having Mike around,” said Lee. “He did a lot for the club when he was at UMF and he’s more of just one of the guys than a coach figure for us, which is a cool dynamic.”
Keim coaches the team alongside his father, Scott, who has coached the team since 2011. “I wanted to coach with my dad to continue building the team,” said Keim. “My favorite hockey team I ever played for is UMF.”
The club is always looking for more people to join. “There is a wide range of experience on the team, we have some guys like me that have played their whole lives and we have some guys that are new to the sport,” said Lee.