The D-III SIUe Cougars Hockey team is beginning to gain traction in their first season back after a year long absents from the ACHA D-III league last season. The Cougars were home last weekend, at the East Alton Ice Arena, where they split with D-II Augustana College, winning Saturday by the score of 8-6 and then losing by a score 5-8 on Sunday. The split on the weekend raised them to 3-7 on the year with the other two wins coming against Wheaton College. The Cougars are in lead in scoring by aged veteran Mike Selby (7G-4A-11Pts) and Devin Kennedy (6G-5A-11Pts).
The SIUe Hockey Program had boasted teams at both D-II and D-III for many years until, due to financial reasons and low numbers, the D-III team was forced to fold for the 2016-2017 season. When current D-II coaches, Taylor Emerick and Nick Edwards, took over the SIUe Hockey Program this season, their first order of business was establishing a way to revive the D-III team. After months of recruiting, help from the school, strong leadership from current D-III Assistant Captain Craig Ford, and a local hockey legend willing to come out of retirement to coach (Larry Thatcher), the finances and numbers started to grow which made the D-III dream into a reality.
In their first season back, the D-III SIUe Hockey team is competing in 16 games during their probationary period with the MACHA Bronze division. If the season goes smoothly and they continue to compete closely in games, the MACHA Bronze committee will vote on their acceptance into the league. Coaching the cougars is St. Louis Hockey Hall of Famer Larry Thatcher along with assistant coaches Andy Stratton and Ben Winterberg. Larry was talked out of his hockey coaching retirement after he saw the new excitement buzzing around the SIUe Hockey Program and was graciously willing to help lead a first year team into success.
The SIUe D-III Cougars still have 6 games remaining in the regular season as they will battle against Aurora University at home this weekend before traveling to Mckendree University and Middle Tennessee University to close out the regular season. This weekends home games against Aurora will be Saturday at 3:00 PM and on Sunday at 10:30 AM at the East Alton Ice Arena. The D-II SIUe Cougars will also be home this weekend against MACHA Gold division rivals Northern Illinois University. They will host the Huskies Friday night at 10:45 PM and Saturday at 5:45 PM also at the East Alton Ice Arena. Come on out to the EAIA and enjoy a packed full and exciting weekend of SIUe Hockey!