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Opinion: 5 reasons you should care about Clemson’s club hockey team

Provided by Ellie Godwin
Clemson ice hockey goalie JP Kerney stands with his team during the Tigers’ match against Georgia Tech on Oct. 7, 2022

Clemson offers opportunities for athletes of all levels, but lower-level teams are often overshadowed by varsity competition. Here are five reasons why you should care about one of Clemson’s niche teams: club ice hockey.

1. Hockey is growing in the South

Last season, the Tigers competed in the AAU National Championship Tournament for the first time in program history alongside 12 other southern schools, including Georgia, Tennessee, Tampa and South Carolina.

Recently, College Hockey South announced the creation of a D1 Division within the conference. The division currently includes five teams: Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, South Carolina and Tampa. While Clemson will continue to play at the D2 level for the 2023-2024 season, there’s a possibility it will move up in the near future.

2. Hockey is one of the best live sports

If you think football games have an exciting atmosphere, just wait until you experience your first hockey game. 

From the insane speed to the exciting goal celebrations to the intense glove-dropping, hockey is one of the most exciting live sports. 

Don’t believe me? See for yourself! The Tigers will open the 2023-2024 season against the Georgia Bulldogs at Clemson’s home rink, The Pavilion, in Taylors, South Carolina on Sept. 8.

3. Clemson is on the rise

The Tigers finished the 2022-2023 regular season with a 9-12-0 record and made their Nationals debut at 2-1-0, despite being ranked No. 31 out of 32 teams. Clemson entered the tournament low but unexpectedly defeated No. 15 Penn State Harrisburg and No. 23 Fredonia State to seal a great season.

While the team recognizes that there’s always room to improve, anyone who made it out to a game last year knows that this is just the beginning for Clemson.

4. The in-state feud continues

If there’s one thing all Clemson fans can agree on, it’s their distaste for the South Carolina Gamecocks. So, if you’re looking for another excuse to stir up that rivalry, you’re in luck!

Clemson and South Carolina play a best-of-three series every season, which the players refer to as the “Palmetto Cup.” For the last five years, South Carolina has taken home the trophy, which means just one thing: Clemson is ready to take it back. 

5. It’s time the Clemson Family shows some love to our club sports

Every time you walk on campus, it is highly likely that you’ll walk past an athlete without even knowing it. Club athletes are your friends, your family and your classmates. But above all else, club athletes are Clemson athletes, and they deserve your support.

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About the Contributor
Kelly Kaelblein
Kelly Kaelblein, Asst. Sports Editor
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