Castleton’s ice hockey teams have generated a lot of buzz recently, with Rylie Wills and Wyatt Pickrell both bringing home NEHC Goalie of the week honors for the men and women’s teams.
Yet, there’s one Castleton hockey team that not many people are talking about.
After a multi-year absence, the club program has returned. In its first year back, 19 students are rostered on the team. They are coached by Jason Pelkey, cousin of USA women’s ice hockey Olympian Amanda Pelkey.
The team is led by captains Harper Wimble and Ryan Crowningshield, and while the players are fired up, the competition has been fierce.
“Aside from Middlebury, we play all club teams. Every school in our division is D1 except us,” said Wimble.
This Castleton club’s only victory thus far came against the Middlebury College junior varsity team in a 3-2 nail-biter that ended with shootouts.
“That felt good,” said Wimble. “We’d been working hard toward a win. We would’ve liked to get it in regulation but we’re happy to come away with it in the shootout. Colten Leno, a Middlebury native, actually scored the game winning shootout goal.”
The lone win has the Spartans sitting at 1-5 on the season.
“The competition is tough,” said Castleton sophomore forward Will Palmer. “We find ourselves in the middle of the pack. Also other schools have more involvement with their programs, but it’s a lot of fun.”
“Involvement” is likely just a more polite way of saying these other schools have invested more money into their programs. However, Palmer insists the Castleton supplies it’s club team with more than enough.
“We each pay $200, which gets charged to our school accounts. They provide us with a lot of equipment, and we take busses to our games, courtesy of the school. Can’t complain,” Palmer said.
So far, the team has traveled to Clarkson University, St. Lawrence University and Union College. But no matter where the Spartans play, they are always hungry for more.
“We love to play and we love the game,” said Crowningshield. “We have five games left but we only need one win to make playoffs. We’ll be ready when we do.”