On the Connecticut River
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a group of Dartmouth students in hockey skates and helmets, mostly wearing green-and-white striped shirts

I've talked before about my involvement with the Dartmouth College Marching Band (DCMB) as a past-maybe-future percussionist, color guard performer, and social chair. Outside of performing at games, we have a variety of social events throughout the year, from going to a corn maze in the fall to a cabin trip in the spring, and I organized a lot of these during my year as social chair. One thing that the DCMB does in the winter, though, that's organized by our elected "jock chair" rather than our social chairs, is form an intramural (IM) hockey team that plays against other students in casual competition, always calling ourselves the "Ugly Pucklings."

an intramural hockey game in action at Dartmouth's Thompson arena

I've never gotten to participate in this annual tradition of IM hockey before since I wasn't properly involved in the DCMB until my junior fall, and then I was abroad my junior winter, but since I'm trying to seek new experiences up until the very end of senior year, I decided to try it out this year! We play in the beginner league, so it's just about as informal as it gets—our only practice before our first game was going to an arena in White River Junction, VT (just 10 minutes away!) for an hour to get comfortable on ice skates—some of us again, some of us for the first time.

Our first game was this past Sunday in Thompson Arena at 8:30PM. I don't own ice skates or a hockey stick or a helmet or… literally anything needed to play hockey, but neither do most of my teammates or the opposing team (the Ski Patrol's IM team, in this Sunday's case). That's the best part, though—all equipment is provided by the college, so there's no need to own anything! We got all of our equipment together, headed out to the ice, and within a few minutes, the game began.

a Dartmouth student (the author of this post) in a maroon crewneck with the letters A and theta on it, gray jeans, hockey skates, and a helmet, holding a hockey stick on the ice
My friend Kevin took this picture to send to my mom (all photo credits for this post: Kevin Farrell '25)!

I hadn't played hockey since approximately age 6, when my parents put me on a hockey team for a few months and mostly just expressed frustration that I skated around and didn't engage in play at all, so that's what we were working with here. That's okay, though—in a beginner IM league, lots of us were in the same boat! In the 30-minute game, I made contact with the puck three times (while often switching in and out of play with my teammates), and though we ultimately lost 4-0, I'm counting that as a win for myself and for trying new things. I look forward to the rest of the hockey season with the Ugly Pucklings, and hopefully actually scoring!

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