Friday, March 6, 2015

A New Season

Four years ago, we reprinted and paraphrased a letter written by St. Cloud State alum Mike Doyle, who was watching an SCSU team picked to be among the best in the WCHA falter and finish near the bottom. His words were inspiring, and while they're unfortunately no longer online, here's another reprint and another paraphrase to fit this current situation that the Engineers find themselves in.

There is still time to salvage the season. It won’t be easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is. This would be a wonderful turnaround, but you have play up to your potential and battle every minute of every game.

During the Colgate and Cornell home weekend in January, you proved, when motivated, that you could be an elite team. I know the bounces haven’t been on your side recently. But, this is all the more reason to man-up and prove to the rest of college hockey that you aren't an oversight.

Each season is unique and you will never get another chance to play with this team. The locker room relationships are unlike any that you will ever make again. Don’t take them for granted.

For the seniors, this is your last hurrah. You may be looking forward to getting out and playing pro hockey. However, playing college hockey is like staying at a five-star hotel, while skating in the minors is like rooming at the Motel 6.

In college you are treated like a king: all the sticks you need, skate-sharpening wherever you lose an edge, first-class travel arrangements and spacious locker rooms in beautiful, sold-out arenas. Houston Field House may be old, but your locker room is better than 90 percent of the arenas you will ever see in the minors.

For the underclassmen, realize that four years fly by. Don't let this one end before you're ready for it to be over.

Confidence is a fickle jester taunting the psyche of a hockey team. A bounce or two can change the entire outlook of a season. When the self-confidence snowball gets rolling in the wrong direction, it feels like it’s impossible to stop. Confidence is something people outside the locker room don’t see nor understand.

Some of the RPI faithful are bemoaning your effort. Message boards are lighting you up like the Griswold house on “Christmas Vacation.”

You cannot let this lack of faith bury your confidence. You can only play for the guys in the locker room wearing the Cherry and White.

This is the playoffs. That means there's 12 teams, right now, who are two losses away from their season being over. Whether you're on the road or at home, playing in the first round or with a bye to the quarterfinals, this is the reality. You bring it or you're done. You want it more, and you can succeed.

This is the playoffs. All the woulda, coulda, shoulda stops now. At this very moment, the Bobcats, Saints, Bulldogs, Raiders, Big Green, Crimson, Big Red, Golden Knights, Engineers, Dutchmen, Bears, and Tigers have the same record. 0-0. Some teams have earned the right to have certain benefits along the road to Lake Placid. These benefits are no guarantors of success, and teams without those benefits are not condemned.

You have to walk before you can run. You have to crawl before you can walk.

This is the playoffs.

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