Hockey readies to hit the ice at St. Dominic

The St. Dominic Crusaders are soon headed to an ice rink near you.

It was announced last week that the St. Dominic athletics program has begun preparations to start an ice hockey team beginning in the 2021-22 season.

“I think this a huge step in our athletic program,” Roberts said. “With the number of kids we have coming here and with hockey in St. Charles growing, I think we were missing out. Now, we’ve got our foot in the door, which is huge for us. I think kids will come here to play hockey, just like they do for every other sport we have.”

There will be an informational meeting next Thursday, Feb. 25, during Overtime for interested student-athletes. They will be able to meet the coaches at that time.

After interest is gauged, a subsequent parent meeting will be scheduled.

Roberts said that, while there is a minimum number of participants necessary to begin the program, there is no limit on how many players can come out.

For instance, if 32 players come out, then the likelihood of two teams exists.

“We have to have 16 students from our school to be able to start the program,” Roberts said. “Our hope is to find 16 and, if not, then we have to find whatever is left. When you start a program, Mid-States forces you to play an exhibition season – a junior varsity season. If we have two teams, we’ll play two junior varsity seasons.”

Roberts said that once the ball is rolling, the hope is that the new players and coaches will continually build right into the start of the 2021-22 season.

It will begin with open ice times at the Wentzville ice rink and continue with some level of continuous exposure right until next season.

“We’re having three open ice times right after Easter,” Roberts said. “We’ll go those next three Wednesday nights. It’s a chance to come on out and skate around. All three of our coaches will be there. Then, our goal is to get summer activity going because we don’t want to lose interest. In June and July, we’ll do some stuff and that will get us going full steam in August to get ready for a November start up.”

The program will join the Mid-States Club Hockey Association (MSCHA), which was formed in 1971, and currently has 34 teams playing on the varsity level and 20 in the junior varsity league.

Roberts said that, unlike other programs, hockey at St. Dominic won’t have the same club-level feel.

“We’re not treating it as a typical club sport, it’s part of our athletic program,” Roberts said. “There is no parent board, none of that. I will oversee the entire operation. Everything runs through us, all the financials. It’s not totally on the backs of the parents. The athletics department will handle 99 percent of everything. It will still cost parents a little bit of money. It’s the same thing with our dance program.”

While other Mid-States club teams operate as separate entities from the schools they represent, Roberts reiterated that St. Dominic and its hockey team will be one and the same, just at any other sport at the school.

“Kids will be held accountable academically, just like every other student-athlete here,” Roberts said. “It will be the same as everything else we do (with athletics). All of our policies are the same. All I can say is that we’re extremely excited to get this going.”

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