Lindenwood hockey program gets an upgrade

Jane+Jacobs+and+the+rest+of+the+women%27s+hockey+team+listen+to+head+coach+Shelley+Looney+share+her+excitement+for+the+new+season.+%3Cbr%3E+Photo+by+Kayla+Drake
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Lindenwood hockey program gets an upgrade

Jane Jacobs and the rest of the women's hockey team listen to head coach Shelley Looney share her excitement for the new season.  Photo by Kayla Drake

Jane Jacobs and the rest of the women's hockey team listen to head coach Shelley Looney share her excitement for the new season.
Photo by Kayla Drake

Jane Jacobs and the rest of the women's hockey team listen to head coach Shelley Looney share her excitement for the new season.
Photo by Kayla Drake

Jane Jacobs and the rest of the women's hockey team listen to head coach Shelley Looney share her excitement for the new season.
Photo by Kayla Drake

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KAYLA DRAKE | Editor-in-Chief

It’s safe to say the Lindenwood hockey program has upgraded from the former Lindenwood Wentzville Ice Arena to the Centene Community Ice Center in Maryland Heights, Missouri.

Video by Kayla Drake and James Kamnuedkhun

“It was just more like a community ice center, ” hockey player Lily Marchant said about the Wentzville arena. “You were basically in a locker room that the youth players were in. It wasn’t like you were an NCAA athlete.”

Locker rooms are like a second home for athletic teams and that is why head women’s hockey coach Shelley Looney spent Saturday morning with her assistant coaches unpacking players gear. By afternoon, the women’s team huddled around the entrance waiting for the reveal, fittingly walking in to the lyrics of “Good as Hell” by Lizzo playing in the background.

The new rink is a 5-10 minute drive from campus, compared to the 35 minutes it took to travel to the Wentzville arena. Plus, the new locker room features two 75-inch Smart TVs, a sub-wafer, lounge, showers, direct rink access and a center screen on ice.

Both the men’s and women’s teams received new locker rooms and will be sharing ice time with the St. Louis NHL team the Blues and community hockey teams.

“Lindenwood athletics is showing you that they’re believing in ice hockey here – for the men and the women,” Looney said.

After the players settled in, Looney choked up talking to the team.

“I can see on their face they’re taking it to heart and seeing what an honor it is,” she said. “I’m just glad that I can be apart of it.”

Looney said the universities investment isn’t cheap and it’s her team’s responsibility to put equal effort into the new facility. Senior Courtney Ganske echoed her coach’s sentiment.

“This was given to us, so it makes us want to give back, so we’re definitely going to work hard and try to bring home a title,” Ganske said.

Looney said the new rink and locker rooms have provided the team with the energy they need to make a comeback, after having eight losing seasons in a row.

“Even though the kids have been here before they feel like it’s a fresh start, even if they’re seniors,” she said.

Looney, a former Olympian, has been head coach for two months now and said she couldn’t have come to the program at a better time.

“Just the excitement around town when you talk about hockey in general,” she said. “The blues coming back with the cup is unbelievable.

Freshman Madilynn Hickey said the new rink will be a way for the program to earn respect from the community.

The women’s first home game is this Friday, Sept. 27 against the No. 1 team in the nation, the University of Wisconsin.

“Now I can get out of the office and get on the ice where I really enjoy working with the girls,” Looney said.