Over the Holidays, The Citadel and The Naval Academy Club Hockey Teams had the opportunity to join forces to play some Semi-Professional Teams in the United Kingdom. The excursion was over a week where they played four teams throughout their time in the UK.
The four-match ups included matches against The Kirkcaldy Kestrels in Scotland, The Murray Field Racers, The Sheffield Steel Dogs, and The Romford Raiders. According to Citadel Player Reeves Peterson, the teams were knowledgeable and brought some different looks that American Hockey players weren’t familiar with. “The Teams in the U.K. gave us some fits when we played them. However, I felt it was more chemistry than anything. Our team and Navy had only played together once before heading overseas to play. You had guys who had been playing together for years on the teams we went up against. So it was a challenge.” Despite the challenge, The Citadel held their own in the first three games losing 5-3,6-3, 3-2, before finally getting blown out 8-1 in their final match against The Romford Raiders. “All the teams we played were tough,” Peterson added. “A lot of the athletes are faster and bulkier than the athletes Navy, and our team was used to facing. Overall they just had better players than both of our schools did. However, we gave them our best and left everything out on the ice.”
In comparison with the Citadel Ice Hockey Team, the Naval Academy Club Hockey Team was a lot more militaristic in a sense. Peterson stated, “I believe a massive difference between Navy and our school was there was a sense that Navy had more of a military bearing than Citadel Cadets did. Their school is not better than ours; it’s just different. All of their students are becoming commissioned officers after they graduate. Our commission rate is around 30 to 40 percent, so of course, our personalities are going to be different.” Peterson also told me that because The Citadel Team is filled with so many different personalities, that their team appeared to be much closer than the Naval Academy Team. He stated, “It’s not surprising, generally when you have different personalities people tend to be closer.” However, he did state that the Naval Academy Cadets did have great respect for one another. A lot of their culture translated into growing friendships with The Citadel Hockey Players. Peterson stated, “Traveling with these guys to Scotland, London, and other various parts of The UK experiencing things you do not normally get to experience, yeah you’re going to bond with these guys, and they’re great people. I wouldn’t trade any of these experiences, and I am thankful I was able to apart of something extraordinary.”
It is essential to realize that many people at The Citadel have diverse experiences. Whether it be The Hockey Team going overseas to play, Tac Officers who have lived in different parts of the world, Cadets who went abroad, or the trips that different campus groups take, people have a lot of different experiences to share. and one should take the time to sit down and share their experiences. It takes all kinds of people to make The Citadel what it is and going overseas to play Hockey is one of those surreal experience that contributes to diverse experiences.
-Cadet Grady Edwards