Preview of an unusual winter season


Sarah Olender

Sophomore defender Megan Carter fights to clear the crease and defender her goalie during a mid-January tilt against UConn last season.

Gretchen Hofmann, news correspondent

Northeastern basketball and hockey are coming back, but the winter season is not immune to the uncertainty that comes with the pandemic. Despite the question of when the hockey season will begin, and the fact that basketball will not be starting until January, the athletes are working hard in practice to prepare. 

The women’s hockey team had a delayed return to practice, starting about three weeks after arriving on campus instead of within the first week. The team began practices by splitting into two small groups and working on individual skills. 

Only recently did the team begin practicing as one unit. Senior goaltender Aerin Frankel expressed her excitement for practices progressing towards normality. 

“These past couple of weeks it’s felt pretty normal,” Frankel said. “We’re on the ice with the whole team, wearing masks, but we’ve been able to do a lot more. We started doing scrimmaging this week as well.”

The game schedule for the team has yet to be released, but the hope of the team is for a late November start.

“The idea is that we will be able to have somewhat of a regular season as soon as they figure out logistics on how often teams are going to be tested,” Frankel said. “We’re remaining optimistic but we’re not certain exactly when we’ll get our schedule.”

In a typical year, the team would’ve already played its exhibition games. 

“We’re sort of just practicing right now with the thought in mind that we will be playing eventually but we don’t really know when that is,” said senior defender Brooke Hobson.  

The basketball team is also back in practice, and they are adapting to the new safety protocols as well. Stella Clark, captain anda senior guard, noted that practice looks and feels a little different due to health and safety restrictions. 

“In general, basketball is a very close contact sport, which has definitely affected practices in the sense that we’re trying to maintain a social distance and not get too close to one another,” Clark said. “Wearing masks has been a bit of a struggle for all of us but it’s something we’re working through. I feel that we’re doing well and adapting.” 

With basketball’s official start date on Friday, Jan. 1, junior guard Kendall Currence is eager to get back to games. 

“For me, it’s definitely a long way to wait all the way until January,” Currence said. 

There is an obvious consensus on each team — no matter the start date, they will continue to work hard and give their all at each practice. 

Clark said that despite the challenges, she is still focused on “ensuring the team enjoys their season and feels satisfied in the work they put in.”

“Since we don’t have our schedule set in stone, we’re just coming to the rink everyday and working hard,” Frankel said. “We’re trying to think about the season as close or far as it may be, preparing in any way we can.” 

Clark said she has been trying to make sure her teammates stay positive despite the uncertainty and challenges this season presents. 

“That’s my biggest goal this season,” Clark said. “[I want] to make sure when the puck finally does drop for our first game, we’re all ready, and that we’re able to continue to overcome the obstacles we may face.”