Hockey’s “new home” adds to team’s success
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Suffolk University’s men’s hockey program had to bounce around for quite a while before settling in a new place to call home.
The Rams shared the ice with the Boston University Terriers in their home rink at the Walter Brown Arena, where Suffolk hockey spent many years holding practices and playing games. They played throughout the City of Boston and even brought the game back outdoors twice at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Gordon College.
“[Walter Brown Arena] was our home there, we were used to it,” said hockey alum and 2007 hall of famer Brian “Scorin” Horan in an interview with the Suffolk Journal on Sunday.
For 15 years until last season, alumni and current upperclassmen players had to carry their equipment bags and commute to practice by using public transportation.
“We didn’t have the luxury of leaving our equipment [in the BU locker rooms],” said Horan. “We didn’t mind it as long as we had a place to play.”
Current Head Hockey Coach Chris Glionna, who finished his 12th season with the team after this season, said that reaching an agreement with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation for an off-campus rink to call home took him several years.
“Securing the ice time at Charlestown and the locker room was a game changer for the program,” said Glionna. “[Our rink]” may not be as nice as many DIII schools with their own rinks, but we very much appreciate what we have in Charlestown.”
“Hockey has a new home, and that was something I fought for hard,” said Horan.
Glionna and Horan, who coached together during Horan’s era, both think securing the Charlestown owned rink has helped the program in recruiting student-athletes. Horan, who played center from 1989 to 1992, said the program and the university was “local in favor,” in terms of student-athletes from the Massachusetts and Greater Boston Area, so little recruiting needed to be done. As the program’s head coach from 1999 to 2004, Horan said he never had the opportunity to recruit players throughout the country. Recruiting was done by going to a few local high school hockey games. Today, student-athletes are recruited from all over the country.
“I love the direction the program’s heading in,” said Horan.
Glionna, who studied and played hockey at Suffolk, said recruiting to then develop student-athletes on and off of the ice is important. The coaching staff puts a great emphasis on character and holds players accountable. Glionna thinks being in the Commonwealth Coast Conference, “a very strong league nationally,” helps the staff with recruiting efforts as well.
“I am very much a believer in hard work, and I focus on detail; I think my team reflects that,” Glionna said. “We have a sign in our locker room that says: ‘It is not what you want, but what you earn.’”
Horan, the university’s all-time leading scorer who notched 169 goals and 133 assists for a combined 302 points, played the greatest season in school history with his 1990-91 team, graduated in 1992, and played minor league hockey for several years before coming back to the university to coach the program in 1999. In the mid-90s, the program struggled, and Horan wanted to help lead the team back into the playoff picture after an eight-year hiatus.
“I wanted to right the ship, give them an opportunity to win, and to leave a mark as a coach,” said Horan. “I thought I’d throw my hat in the rink.”
Glionna, who earned the title of most winningest coach in program history with a shutout 1-0 win over Becker College on Feb. 13, 2016, owes his success to current hockey assistant coaches John Burgess, Greg Fowke, and Pat Welch. He said they are “one of the best staffs in college hockey.”
“I think anyone that watches one of my teams would tell you we play hard and aggressive for all 60 minutes,” said Glionna.