By Kailey Harmon | Contributing Writer
The spring semester is filled with bittersweet moments for seniors. This past weekend at the Civic Complex in Pelham, Alabama, seniors Andre Morard and Jake Collins experienced such moments after playing in their last home hockey game of their collegiate career.
The Frozen Tide will graduate four seniors this year. Along with Collins and Morard are seniors Halen Butorac and Tommy Condon.
Both Morard and Collins have been playing for Alabama’s Frozen Tide club hockey team for four years – only a fourth of the amount of years they’ve been playing the sport itself. After the team’s win over Navy last weekend, the whole experience really sunk in and hit home for the seniors, knowing they’ll never play at home again.
“It was a great feeling after the win,” Collins said. “It started to set in after everyone was off the ice, and I could see my family in the stands with tears in their eyes.”
Hockey has played a prominent role for Collins and Morard during their time at Alabama. Although they will be leaving the team at the end of its season, the team is certainly not leaving them in memory.
The seniors were able to reminisce on favorite memories.
“For me it was scoring against my dad’s old team, UA-Huntsville,” Morard said. “We didn’t win but the stars were aligned.”
Being a student athlete requires dedication to both a school and an athletic program. As the club team president, Collins said he has learned ways to become better with time management.
He also learned a thing or two from his teammates.
“Balancing school is something I had to learn how to do,” Collins said. “As club president my team has taught me how to enjoy the little things.”
During their years playing hockey for Alabama, Morard and Collins watched the program progress each season. Both seniors have high hopes for the team after they’re gone.
“I hope they continue to grow at the same rate that I grew over the past four years with their talent and fan base,” Morard said.
Collins hopes to see the team win a national championship. He said the program needs one.
Alabama hockey’s final game of the season will be played at Oklahoma this weekend. Oklahoma is currently No. 10 in the American Collegiate Hockey Association rankings.
“They are ranked high and are a really good team,” Collins said. “I want us to come out and leave the weekend knowing we played the best we could.”
Morard also holds his own expectations for the match-up.
“I hope we can carry on what we did Saturday night,” he said. “Winning this game would make the season.”
Even with tough competition ahead, for the seniors, this game means more to them than just another game. It will mark their last time playing alongside their teammates, who Collins said they’ve formed a bond with that’ll be missed, and the end of their collegiate career.
“Playing my favorite sport for my favorite school is what I’ll miss most,” Morard said. “There’s no better combo than that.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports