The Gentlemen's Puck Club
As somewhat of a devout hockey player, a good club team was always an important consideration during my college search, and Dartmouth presented perhaps the most opportunity out of any.
I started playing when I was six years old, and since then, I've risen up through the ranks until my pre-college experience culminated in juniors last year. Essentially, hockey has been a significant part of my life ever since I can remember, and I wasn't willing to let college change that. So, when I started touring schools, I made it a point to seek out every coach I could contact, visit every rink, and get a glimpse of hockey culture on each campus to find my optimal fit. I sought the perfect mix of athletics and academics, a team that was enough of a commitment to be competitive, but not enough to get in the way of my schoolwork. After speaking to multiple coaches, Dartmouth's stood out in particular; some other coaches boasted about how good their teams were, some seemed to barely know what they were doing, but Dartmouth's spoke of a new and rising program, one that had a lot of potential to take a leadership role while still being respectful of my studies.
Now, almost two months in, my experience has been exactly that. The coaches and captains respect our commitment to our schoolwork while still treating it like a serious team, and for me, it's been the perfect combination. And from what I've heard, this isn't just the case with club hockey; I have a bunch of friends who are involved in other sports on campus, and I've never experienced a single complaint about it interfering with their studies, and they all still say it's a boatload of fun.
Even better, every sport on campus has multiple levels of involvement, one to suit every type of person, which is a perfect way to get people involved in new things. For me personally, coming from playing at the junior level in the past, I came in worried about the competition and commitment level, but with varsity and intramural teams also at the school, the club team is the perfect fit for somebody in my shoes.
But it's not just about the sports; the people I've met on the team have been amazing, and any club sport is a perfect way to forge valuable new connections with people you'd never meet any other way. From upperclassmen to '21s from across campus, any team is an incredible, supportive group of people who you'll come to feel at home with. Hopefully, you'll be able to have the same experience too in the fall!