Photo Credit: Kelsey Lee-Violet Turtle Photography
Saturday in Men’s College Hockey, for some teams brought an end to their season. Not all conferences offer a chance at postseason glory to all of its participants. Among one of those teams not making the second season is the Chargers of Alabama Huntsville (UAH). Despite finishing with a not good 2-26-6 record, the Chargers and their Head Coach, Mike Corbett have some positives to build on heading into the next season not all easily all shown in their final record.
First off, goaltender Mark Sinclair has routinely made 40 plus saves on a nightly basis and has gotten a lot of looks all over the ice. In January he held his team in both games against a superb North Dakota side that is number one in the Pairwise. Sinclair seems to be the next in a long line of Chargers’ goalies capable of winning games on their own.
If players like Josh Latta, the Chargers’ leading scorer and just a sophomore next year can progress, this team with its large recruiting class will shock some people. Latta’s play picked up since the calendar hit November. Since November he has potted 15 of his total 18 points in 26 games. Three of those came against the number one team in the Pairwise in North Dakota.
His line mate, Christian Rajic is a rising senior and another source of hope for the Chargers. I have never seen a player shut up about 11,000 UND fans quicker than he did. 18 seconds into the Friday night fracas against the Fighting Hawks, with Latta getting the secondary assist, Rajic gave the Chargers a lead which shocked everyone in college hockey. Rajic and Latta both play a scrappy game that fits well together and both will be called on to lead the Chargers up front with Sinclair in net next season.
Now, off the ice, a lot of things remain to be decided for the Chargers heading into next year. At the time of writing this, the Chargers do not have a conference to play in beyond next year,as they were not invited at first pass to the new look CCHA which is, as of now, the current WCHA minus the two Alaska schools and the Chargers.
Head Coach Mike Corbett recently took the time to answer some questions about conference affiliation, the Chargers’ program, the impact of the program’s five departing seniors; Austin Beaulieu, Connor James, Sean Rappleyea, Teddy Rotenberger, and Brandon Salerno, along with things his staff will be doing in the offseason in conjunction with a new UAH Administration to grow Chargers Hockey.
Below are his answers to my questions. The Chargers have a long offseason ahead of them, but having Corbett at the helm who is also chief fundraiser for his program, is the right move for this team and program going forward. This program has a strong level of affinity for it, a dedicated group of donors that contribute to it, and a culture of loyalty and perseverance endemic to the type of person Corbett is. The Chargers look to have a big, yet to be finalized recruiting class that should step into the lineup right away and help them across the board as well.
Just remember, while Corbett is Head Coach for this program he is also the main one responsible for fundraising for it, and he recruits all over North America and beyond.-Corbett is currently leading the push to get UAH into a conference for play in the 2021-2022 season and beyond.
1. Have any conferences approached you to join them?
“We have not been approached by any conferences to join. Nor did we expect
to be approached.”
2. Is there a conference UAH would prefer to join and why?
” There is a place for UAH in college hockey, I truly believe that. We have
the ability to be a strong partner within the sport. First of all we have
to look at a conference that is looking to add a member, typically one that
has an odd number of teams for scheduling purposes. The new CCHA would be a
good fit geographically as teams can bus to us and it is very easy to get
here by plane. The ties we have with these schools from our time in the
WCHA, can help us moving forward with this process.”
3. How has fundraising been for the team this year?
“It has been on track with other years. We have a tremendous hockey alumni
base here… Also a strong core of UAH Hockey supporters. They not only
help us financially and they have passion for the program and see how hockey
is in the fabric of the University and the community. We have 41 years of
hockey here and a strong tradition… We have to continue to grow that base
more and more every year.”
4. What are your plans to help more people take notice of the Chargers
during the offseason?
” First of all we have to get our conference situation remedied. We need to
focus on continuing to put our program in the public eye. Especially on our
campus, and in the City of Huntsville. We have to win our 400 acre campus
first and grow from there… We have a new administration and sit down with
them and brainstorm ideas to expand our brand and put that brand in front of
as many people and businesses that we can! ”
5. Add anything else about your program that you would like to include.
” Moving forward we have to continue to solidify our program, build its
foundation with alums, fans, and our campus. We are always building and
moving forward improving. Sometimes not as fast as we like but there is
many positives as our campus continues to grow… Our administration is
100% behind us as we venture forward and attempt to get into a new
conference. We have everything a player needs to accomplish his goals
athletically and academically. We have to continue to show that to recruits
and their families. Getting players on our campus to see the growth of the
campus and the city is paramount to building this program. We have a very
strong education, a vibrant campus, and a city that is investing over 6
billion dollars in development as we speak.
My staff and I are going to work to show and educate as many people as we
can about all the positives we have at The University of Alabama Huntsville.
We are on the right track and need to find more and more players that add
value to our University. Continue building and clawing against all the
myths of what people think and show them we are ready to make an impact in
6. Talk about what your departing seniors have meant to this program.
” This group has endured a lot… They have definitely left this program and
university better then when they got here… We have had some tough
seasons, these guys have worked on the ice and in the classroom like the
strong successful young men that they are! I am very proud of this group
how they have battled the adversity and came out on top! They will be
successful in everything they do moving forward.”
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