Handy has high expectations for Flames hockey

Character building — Hard work and dedication is what Coach Handy expects of his players after the Flames were ousted in the opening round of the playoffs last season. Photo credit: Ruth Bibby

The Liberty men’s D1 hockey team met for a Media Day to discuss the potential for the upcoming season, Aug. 30. Coach Kirk Handy had nothing but good things to say.

Comparing the rosters from this year and the previous one, it is apparent that there are a lot of new faces on the current team. The team has added eight new freshmen for this season, and they should not be counted out.

According to Handy, all of the men have “strong character, work hard and [have] a great attitude.”

The primary objective for the team in preparing for the upcoming season is to be “consistent because of the single elimination playoffs,” Handy said.

Workouts are early and often for the team as players “try and start with a 2-mile run 5:50 a.m.,” Handy said.

The main points they are emphasizing this year are “discipline and accountability,” Handy said.

The season starts with 16 home games. When asked if this was an advantage, Handy replied, “Yeah, sort of an advantage to find out who we are as a team.” The disadvantage to this scheduling predicament is that the men miss out on the usual road-bonding opportunities, but they have developed other ways to bond, said Handy.

Flames Hockey fans should come to the games prepared to see intense action and should attend every series.

“[There are] not gonna be many nights that are a blow out,” Handy said.
The Flames might not have one specific rival team per se, but they are preparing for good competition against Delaware, Ohio, Oakland and, for the first time, West Virginia.

Flames fans should expect to see many more specialty nights at LaHaye Ice Rink, similar to last year’s “bear toss.”

The Flames D1 men’s hockey team also gives back to the community by participating in the “Freedom 4/24 race again this year. The team ran the past couple years to support charities,” Handy said.

Some seniors are NHL prospects, and if they want to pursue that dream, it would be “a lot of hard work, and Liberty would push them towards achieving that goal,” Handy said.

The Flames home opener is 7 p.m. this Saturday, Sept. 7 in the LaHaye Ice Center against the Hampton Jr. Whalers.

Season tickets are available at the LaHaye Ice Center.

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