Flames’ DI men’s hockey team confirms 24-man roster for 2022-23 season
This week’s tryouts at the LaHaye Ice Center finalized the 24 members of Liberty University’s 2022-23 ACHA Division I men’s hockey team, including 19 returning players and five incoming recruits.
“We have a fantastic group of guys and we are really looking forward to getting going with practice and really working to become a great team together,” said Flames Head Coach Kirk Handy, who has compiled a record of 498-199-30 in 22 seasons at the helm. “We have an excellent dynamic among the 14 forwards, seven defensemen, and three goalies on the team. Now the hard work begins. We’ve recruited guys who work hard in the summertime. Now the opportunity’s in front of us and we are excited to work hard as a team, grow as a group of men, and to achieve all that God wants us to achieve on and off the ice this year.”
The Flames, who made their fifth consecutive appearance in the ACHA DI National Championships and finished ranked No. 6 in the final rankings, open their season on Sept. 16 against North Carolina State, the first of 20 home dates.
Before then, they will host a power skating clinic led by Pro Stride, which trains members of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils and other collegiate players, this weekend. Then, on Sept. 9-10, Liberty’s players and coaching staff will travel to Stone Ridge in nearby Concord, Va., to work with Warrior Fellowship, operated by FCA Hockey.
“This year, it’s going to include (Club Sports Director of Strength & Conditioning) Chris Kerr, David Jones, our sports psychologist who will provide mental toughness training, and (Liberty University Sport Chaplain & Global Director) Brian Davidson,” Handy said.
He said as much as Kerr’s training will be beneficial for the team’s physical strength and conditioning, Jones’ and Davidson’s guidance will prepare the Flames mentally and spiritually for the challenges that await this season, and well into the future.
“We’ve got a really good system in place with those guys,” Handy said. “Learning how to be mentally tough is vital not just for sports, but it’s for life. It takes tenacity to be successful in the business world as well as in your marriage and family, as husbands, and fathers to your children.”
The Warrior Fellowship staff along with Kerr, Jones, and Davidson will collaborate with coaches, senior defenseman and head captain Colin Baird, and senior forward and alternate captain Matt Bartel to focus in on aspects of the team’s theme for this season of “We Fight,” based on 1 Timothy 6:12, which refers to fighting the good fight of faith.
“We want to be known as a team who fights and battles hard every night,” Handy said. “We want to be a team that battles hard and grows in our faith so we can be better future husbands and fathers, so that we can use our time at Liberty to train to be the next generation of pastors and teachers and business leaders in the world.”
Liberty 2022-23 ACHA Division I men’s hockey roster
Seniors: D — No. 5 Colin Baird, No. 20 Tom Nagle, No. 83 Josh Fricks; F — No. 91 Matt Bartel, No. 92 Brett Gammer; G — No. 35 Hunter Virostek, No. 88 Cédric Le Sieur
Juniors: F — No. 11 DJ Schwenke, No. 12 Kam Ottenbreit, No. 34 Kris Bladen, No. 40 Jason Foltz
Sophomores: D — No. 2 Luke Heimann, No. 3 Colten Kovich, No. 4 Nate Cox; F — No. 6 Joe Clark, No. 14 Jacob Kalandyk, No. 15 Truett Olson, No. 17 Jackson Vercellono, No. 26 Nate Albers, No. 49 Alexander Charin
Freshmen: D — No. 8 Grant Morton, No. 27 Laz Kaebel; F — No. 22 Sam Feamster; G — No. 90 Scott Bird