Schools across the country discovered that collegiate hockey teams in New York state were a force to be reckoned with this past year.
The team at Union College in Schenectady won the 2014 NCAA Division I mens ice hockey tournament Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pa., with a 7-4 win against the University of Minnesota. One of the standouts for the Dutchmen was Massena resident Matt Hatch.
This follows the NCAA Division I national championship won last month by the womens hockey team at Clarkson University in Potsdam. The Golden Knights also defeated Minnesota for the title.
For the ECAC Hockey conference to capture both the mens and womens titles in the same year speaks well of its commitment to the sport. In addition to Clarkson and Union, ECAC Hockey is made up of Brown, Colgate, Cornell, Harvard, Princeton, Quinnipiac, St. Lawrence and Yale universities as well as Dartmouth College and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Mr. Hatch was the first player to score a goal in Saturdays championship game. Union Colleges victory added to his remarkable hockey achievements.
When the tournament ended, the Massena native was hoisting the national championship trophy over his head, celebrating the end of an impressive amateur career. In four years at Union, Hatch played on teams that went 104-37-20, won three ECAC Hockey Tournament titles, made two Frozen Fours and took the national championship last Saturday after a 7-4 win over the University of Minnesota, according to a Wednesday story in the Watertown Daily Times. Hatch played in all 42 games for Union this season, which finished 32-6-4. He scored 13 goals with nine assists, and, in 148 career games, he tallied 34 goals with 39 assists. The win was not the first time Hatch won a major championship. He was on Massenas 2008 state Division I championship squad as a senior in high school.
Given Mr. Hatchs connection to the team, Massena residents have been rooting for the Dutchmen for the past few seasons. He said their support has meant a great deal to him.
Thats also something thats been really special for me, he said in Wednesdays story. People I havent talked to in forever have reached out to me, and people I havent met before have reached out to me. Thats whats so special about living in a town like Massena and the north country. Everyone is in the same boat together. Its very humbling that so many people out there care enough to shoot a message and congratulate me.
Mr. Hatch is correct that the support people in the north country have for their neighbors is what makes this area unique. We can share in the victories of the Dutchmen and Golden Knights as if we were the ones lacing up ice skates. They have all done New York state proud.