On Sunday, February 11th, the St. Thomas Aquinas College Club Ice Hockey team will pack up their gear and head to Brooklyn, NY for a very special game.
The Spartans will take on the Columbia University Lions in a 1pm matinee contest at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. The arena is the current home of both the New York Islanders and the Brooklyn Nets. Later in the evening, both teams will take in the Calgary Flames versus New York Islanders, National Hockey League game, also at Barclays Center at 7pm.
In order to participate in the event, St. Thomas Aquinas and Columbia are taking part in an on-going fundraising/ticket purchasing campaign to promote the game of hockey, by selling tickets to the Flames/Islanders match-up. Families and Friends of both players and coaches have stepped up, to date, and purchased tickets to help both teams reach their established goals and thus make the Sunday afternoon game a reality.
The Spartans are no strangers to Barclays Center, as the team was victorious over the Hofstra University Pride, 3-2 last season.
St. Thomas Aquinas, in their first season back as members of the Metropolitan Collegiate Hockey Conference, ices a young, but very talented and hungry line-up. Eleven new faces have worn the maroon and gold this season, joining 6 veteran skaters from last season.
In the 2017-18 season series, the teams have split a pair of MCHC contests, with the Spartans collecting a 6-4 home ice victory on October 8th, before falling on the road to the Lions, 10-8 just a week later on October 14th.
Head Coach Matt Schuster, in his second season as the bench boss of the Spartans and an Islander fan, commented that "playing in the Barclays Center, means the world to our student-athletes, coaches and to the future of the STAC Hockey Program. The experience of playing in an NHL arena and winning the game last season, is one that neither I, nor my players will ever forget. We are looking forward to another great day of hockey in Brooklyn coming up on the 11th."
When asked what he most looked forward to about the events of the upcoming game, Coach Schuster said "seeing the joy on the faces of our players, their families and friends, as we all take part in the game we love, but on a slightly larger stage."
Make no mistake about it, the Spartans are going into this game with the attitude that they want to take this match-up from Columbia, and once the puck is dropped they will look to win the game and go into the off-season on a positive note. The future has never been brighter for the St. Thomas Aquinas College Club Ice Hockey team, and it's all thanks to the hardwork and dedication of Coach Schuster, his coaching staff and his players.
Captain Shawn Benson remarked "As one of the new members the squad this season and the team's captain, I can't say enough about how playing in this game will an exciting and memorable moment for not only myself, but also my teammates and coaches. This could be a once in a lifetime experience for most of us, so we want to soak it all in, but most importantly play our best and get a victory."
Please note: For those wishing to attend the Spartans/Lions game, it is free admission and doors open at 12-12:30pm. However, to attend the Flames/Islanders game later in the evening, you must purchase a ticket through the St. Thomas Aquinas College Club Hockey team at a cost of $40 per ticket, with those doors opening at 6pm.