New Men’s D1 Hockey Team Coach Named

Sam Feamster has been named the next captain of the Liberty men’s D1 hockey team. He succeeds Matt Bartel, who played five seasons for the Flames, serving as both captain and assistant captain. Feamster is going into his third season with Liberty, and Head Coach Kirk Handy’s expectations for him will not change even though he will don the coveted “C” on his jersey next season. 

“I don’t want him to change anything,” Handy said. “I want him to be who he is on and off the ice. I want Sam not to be Matt Bartel from last year or Colin Baird from the year before. I want him to be Sam Feamster … We picked Sam because of who he is,” Handy said. 

Feamster’s expectations for himself will not change either. 

“As a captain, my personal expectations are not changing at all … I always want to be the hardest working, most focused, intense and competitive guy,” Feamster said. 

While there were several strong candidates to be the next captain, Feamster knew he had a good shot. 

“I knew when this past season ended that I was one of the guys that would be considered to be our next captain. However, I didn’t know for sure until a team meeting on April 10. They pulled up a video of my dad to announce that I would be our next captain,” Feamster said. “When I heard it from my dad it was such a special moment. In that moment I felt as if all my work had paid off. Every part of the journey to get to Liberty was worth it.” 

Feamster started playing hockey at the age of five in his home state of Colorado. He set big goals for himself at a young age. 

“At 12 years old I decided that I wanted to play college hockey and was willing to do whatever it took to make that happen,” Feamster said. 

Feamster’s hard work mentality has stuck with him throughout his hockey career. This attribute caught Handy’s eye at Liberty. 

“When he is out off the ice … you see him in the gym, you see him shooting pucks, you see him doing the little things,” Handy said. 

At 17 years old, Feamster moved to Detroit to play for HoneyBaked Hockey, a club that has produced many NHL alumni. Feamster credits his time in Detroit as a big growth period in his life. 

“I matured pretty quickly because I was forced to be independent. This is when my faith became my own personal journey, and I began to grow into who I am today,” Feamster said. 

After playing in Detroit for two seasons, the COVID-19 pandemic forced Feamster to return home. While he was there, he played for a junior team called the Pueblo Bulls.  

“This was a year full of adversity and failures.” Feamster said, “I was very burnt out after that season.” 

For his senior year of high school, Feamster traveled to Montana to play for the Helena Bighorns. He had a great season in Montana and his impressive athleticism captured Handy’s attention. 

“I had the time of my life, success on and off the ice, won lots of games and fell in love with hockey again,” Feamster said. “This opportunity in Helena put me on Liberty’s radar. Coach Kirk liked the way I played and saw that I had potential so he offered me a commitment.” 

Feamster has since played two seasons for Handy’s Flames. It was a long journey for him to get to where he is now, but Feamster only has good things to say about his time at Liberty. 

“I have loved my time here at Liberty … I have grown so much on and off the ice. I have developed my game to a point where I know I can help our team win every day,” Feamster said. 

Perdew is a sports reporter for the Liberty Champion. 

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