Hockey Pirates Continue to Impress
by Josh Spence

Over the weekend the East Carolina Hockey team continued its hot streak.  After defeating Appalachian State 4-2, and 6-3 the Pirates are still undefeated in conference play, and in a time where Pirate fans are in search of something to cheer for, the Hockey team has stepped up.

The ECU club Hockey team has given Pirate fans something to be proud of, and the Pirate Nation has responded.  Friday night's game against Appalachian State saw a capacity crowd at Bladez on Ice, and Saturday wasn't bad either.  In only their second season the Pirates are 12-3, and 11-0 in conference play and they are gaining more and more respect not only locally but on a national level.

At both games I saw several different media outlets there to cover the Pirates.  There were at least two local TV stations there to get footage, a couple of newspaper reporters and of course we had both games live on Pirate Radio. 

The Pirates have dedicated themselves to this team with no consideration to the fact that it's "just a club sport."  The players pay to play, the coaches volunteer their time, but aside from that (and funding), this team is run no differently than major Division I programs. 

That fact is really beginning to show.  ECU has gained national attention placing in the top 35 in the Division III national polls.

The Pirates are getting ready for a big weekend as they travel to Georgia for a couple of key match-ups.  The Pirates take on KennesawState Friday, January 26th and the University of Georgia on Saturday, January 27th.

The big game is against KennesawState.  The Owls are currently ranked 2nd in the ACHA South rankings, the Pirates are 7th.  Division III hockey is broken down into four regions, with the top four teams from each region advancing to the 16 team nationals at seasons end.  ECU needs a couple of big wins to get into that top four, a win over the Owls would go a long way.

In addition ECU is hoping for an invite into the South Region tournament February 2nd -4th.  It is an eight team tournament, and the Pirates hope they have done enough to get in, as a good showing there would also go a long way in helping the Pirates gain the necessary regional placement for nationals.

The main goal however remains finishing what the Pirates could not a year ago, winning the Blue Ridge Hockey Conference Tournament championship.

Comments have been made by ECU officials in the past, in a nutshell saying that making hockey a scholarship sport at ECU is a long way off, and that it may never be a reality.  However, if these guys keep winning, the athletic department may have to rethink what is and isn't a reality. 

Stay tuned to Pirate Radio for more on ECU Hockey and be sure to listen to our future broadcasts February 9th and 10th against Clemson, and February 16th and 17th against Radford.

Josh Spence