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Jimmies women's hockey set to open inaugural season at Midland

The Jimmies are the 25th team at the University of Jamestown.

Martens Gibson
The Jimmies Cambree Martens, left, looks for the tip-in against goalie Makenzie Gibson during practice on Monday, Sept. 19, 2022, at John L. Wilson Arena
Max O'Neill / The Jamestown Sun
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JAMESTOWN — For the second consecutive season, the University of Jamestown is introducing a new team to campus. After the women’s swimming and diving program opened its inaugural season in 2021, the women’s hockey team is next to join the athletic department.

“It’s nice coming in with a new team, at the same time there is no expectations but at the same time, you want to set a high standard,” Jimmies head coach Amber Schaack said. “So, us coming in as a fresh team, it’s great for us because we get to set that standard. We get to start the traditions, we get to start UJ women’s hockey off on the right foot.”

Since she was hired in May 2021, Schaack has spent the ensuing months recruiting a roster made up of players from three different states and four different provinces. Schaack said the atmosphere around the program has been light and they are all having fun together but that they also have the ability to get serious when they need to.

While the team prepares for their season opener at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24, at Midland University (Neb.), Schaack said the team has been spending time together off the ice.

Freshman defenseman Samantha Muller said part of the recruiting pitch from Schaack was being a part of the first-ever team.

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“Obviously you gotta fight to prove to yourself no matter where you are on your team,” Muller said. “But coming into somewhere, where I’m put into a leadership position automatically and I feel like I can adapt well to change like that. I was really interested in helping to build a program, helping to build a name.”

The Jimmies started practice on Aug. 29 and have been hard at work since then at John L. Wilson Arena.

“There is so much pace, the girls here are so fast and they are so eager to get on the ice,” Muller said. “Our passing was a little rocky at the beginning, we’re just getting used to each other’s playing styles. But as it’s gone by, everyone’s put in a lot of effort, everyone shows up, everyone’s willing to put in the work for the day and we’re all super excited to get on the ice for a game.”

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The players are excited to play but they are also excited for what it will mean to the program down the line for them to jump out on the ice at Midland. That opinion was echoed by Muller who was thinking about what it would mean to be the first in program history to accomplish various different feats.

“I think all of us are pretty darn hyped to get out there on the ice, just something about starting new and being the legacy of the team is going to be super awesome and we want to start big,” sophomore forward Rylee Gee said. “We don’t want to just be the small new team, we want to be the big name there, so I’m excited to build a legacy for ourselves.”

Gee is one of five players on the team who are not freshmen as she transferred into the school from Lindenwood University (MO.).

The women’s team is the third hockey team at the University of Jamestown, joining the men’s ACHA Division I and ACHA Division II teams. The men’s teams had their inaugural season in the 2016-17 season.

Schaack is holding off on naming a captain until later in the season as she lets the players figure out who will step up and take the mantle. Freshman goalie Makenzie Gibson is one of three goalies on the roster and although Schaack hasn’t named a starter yet, Gibson is hoping she gets the nod.

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“It would mean the world to me,” Gibson said. “My family has supported me the whole way through my career so getting that start, putting my name in the book would fuel my accomplishment in life, in my hockey career. So, (I would be) super excited if I ever get that opportunity, just to start.”

Schaack said she expects a tight goalie race this season and her team’s depth to show up on the ice. Schaack is also not ruling out all three goalies — Gibson, Bailey Lindsay and Lilah Drew — playing throughout the season but is letting the netminders make the decision for her with their play.

“I keep telling my goalies that they are making my job really hard because all three of them are solid,” Schaack said. “Defensively and on our goalie end of things we’re looking really good, defense as well solid lights out. We’re going to be at least four, five deep with our forwards as well. So, every single one of these kids is going to impact our team in one way or another.”

Amber Schaack
Jimmies head coach Amber Schaack, right, explains a drill to Annika Braun during practice on Monday, Sept. 19, 2022, at John L. Wilson Arena.
Max O'Neill / The Jamestown Sun

Hello,
My name is Max O'Neill. I am a Sports Reporter at The Jamestown Sun. I am a native New Yorker, who graduated from Ithaca College in 2020 with a degree in Television-Radio.
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