October 22 – OSWEGO – Philomena Teggart has served admirably as Oswego State’s women’s ice hockey captain for over 18 months and finally gets the chance to lead her team to the ice with the proudly ‘C’ printed on his jersey this weekend.
Teggart is one of two fifth-year seniors who want to guide the Lakers to the Northeast Women’s Hockey League title fight when they return after a season called off due to COVID-19 concerns.
Oswego State will host King’s College at 7 p.m. Friday at Deborah F. Stanley Arena & Convocation Center to kick off a two-game exhibition list for its first action since March 2020.
They will face Neumann at 3 p.m. on Saturday at the same venue before starting the next regular season with a 3 p.m. road game on October 29 at Adrian College.
Teggart is back after being named captain by new head coach Mark Digby in the spring of 2020, and is joined by her best friend and roommate, Aislinn McAleer, who was named assistant captain at the same time.
“As soon as I heard that we had gotten to the fifth year of eligibility, I was like, ‘I’m back,'” said Teggart. “I wasn’t going to end my hockey career like that, I knew we could come back and win.
Teggart said throughout their absence, the tight-knit duo spoke frequently of avenging Oswego’s last game – a 6-1 loss to number one seed Plattsburgh on March 7, 2020, in the Championship game. NEWHL – and then assistant coach Digby, saying: “It will be us next year,” as they watched the Cardinals celebrate.
They are also motivated to play for two of their former classmates who left the program after graduating as seniors last spring – Amber Thomas and Emma Morisette.
“We faced the clock every day and with every conversation we brought up hockey and talked a lot about how it would be nice to hold this (NEWHL) trophy together above our heads,” Teggart said.
Teggart returned home to Pickering, Ontario, Canada after last fall semester and was off campus last spring. She helped coordinate various virtual group activities with coaches to keep the Lakers collectively engaged as they were scattered across the continent.
Digby fielded a series of guest speakers, Teggart and his teammates reflected on and followed solo training competitions, and the team officially spoke twice a week about hockey and various topics, occasionally participating in activities like a virtual escape room. Players also communicated frequently in a secondary group chat.
“It’s tough enough being a captain during hockey season, but being a captain during COVID is a lot mentally, it’s a lot to deal with,” Digby said. “So getting them back after another full summer of chatting with them and their families has been great.… They are both great people and they deserve to end their hockey careers on their own terms.”
Teggart and McAleer called for a team reuniting the moment the players returned to campus last August and said she was struck with emotion when she saw equipment lined up in the locker rooms for the first voluntary practices reserved for players earlier this month.
“It was honestly surreal, I don’t think I have any specific words I can say other than surreal,” Teggart said. “Everyone was so excited and for me personally I hadn’t been on the ice for over a year so just coming back and getting on the ice for the first time was different, but all the nerves were at their end. after the first little drill, and we were all good. “
The fifth-year senior leaders are two of nine players in the 2019-20 unit who finished 16-7-4 overall and 10-4-4 in the NEWHL before losing to Plattsburgh in the game for the title of the conference.
Digby will begin his head coaching career by mixing 17 newcomers between incoming freshmen, sophomores who started last fall and will maintain four years of eligibility, and some transfer additions.
Digby and Teggart each highlighted team speed as a potential strength and area for improvement after focusing on increasing their pace of play over the past two rounds of recruiting.
Regional ties are also a common theme among the incoming unit with 11 of the state’s 17 newcomers, with regions like Watertown, LaFargeville, Alexandria Bay, Lake Placid and Rochester all represented.
Among the returning players is second-year forward and Auburn product Megan Teachout, who led the Lakers with 13 goals and 16 assists en route to claiming NEWHL Rookie of the Year honors in March 2020. .
“Everyone is excited, there has been a conversation every day about when we can play,” Teachout said. “It’s really emotional for everyone and especially for the ghosts who have been waiting for this for so long, to finally get ready for match day and to be fair with the team warming up, I think. that there’s going to be a lot of adrenaline on the ice. “