Jimmies hockey prepares for 2022 Hockey Day North Dakota
The jimmies have seven players still on the roster from the 2020 Hockey Day.
Hockey in its most basic form is played outdoors on bodies of waters and in backyards all around the world. On Friday, Jan. 21, and Saturday, Jan. 22, the University of Jamestown hockey teams will be doing just that by participating in the third Hockey Day North Dakota event.
After one year off due to COVID-19, the event returns for its third year. The event has moved across campus from Allen Field to the parking lot next to John L. Wilson Arena.
Moving the hockey rink near Wilson Arena is big for Jimmies head coach Dean Stork and his team.
“It’s easier access, so we can use the locker rooms here,” Stork said. “I like it, we don’t have to use the classrooms.”
The Jimmies Division II team starts off the first day looking to go to 2-0 all time at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 21, when they face Williston State. The Jimmies Division I team will finish the event when they look to go to 2-1 all time at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 22, when they face Minot State.
This is Stork’s second Hockey Day after he left the Jimmies hockey program for a position at the Miami University (Ohio) and missed the first one.
As Stork is putting together the schedule for his team in the offseason, he is looking to have a top-quality local team as he looks to continue to help send players to the next level.
“We want a North Dakota team,” Stork said. “Minot is DI, heavy hitter, No. 1 ranked, it’s fun. As a coach, I want to play the best teams … For me, I want the best competition for these kids to develop and get better so that when they graduate here they can go play pro hockey.”
The Jimmies Division I team has six players returning, with the only returner with a goal to his name in the Hockey Day games being Quin Garrison, who scored a goal in the Division II win in 2020. The other returners are Jason Richter, Aidan Potas, Dylan Ossachuk, Jordan Poppoff and Tyson Brouwer.
One of the Jimmies underclassmen who has never played in the game is Greg Susinski. Susinski said the first game in 2019 was part of the recruiting pitch for him.
“Yeah, it was definitely mentioned when I was down here in 2019,” Susinski said. “It was another good thing to the list of them to come to UJ.”
As this is Brouwer’s third outdoor game in net, he is the most experienced in the locker room and knows what the games are like.
“I know how to dress,” Brouwer said. “It’s just simplifying hockey like Dean says. It’s not easy to play outdoors just because of all the elements and the ice conditions and stuff like that. You just have to simplify your game.”
The team also has a handful of its key players who are playing in the game for the first time, including Susinski. Susinski said that he is looking forward to playing Minot under the lights.
“Outdoors and under the lights is going to be a pretty surreal feeling with the snow and the lights and the atmosphere,” Susinski said. “I think it’ll be really fun and the chance to wear eye black is cool too.”