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FGCU Club Hockey Returns this Month, Looking for Fifth ACHA D2 Title

Jessica Piland

Club sports vary in their popularity among the student body at FGCU, but one of, if not the most popular club sport on campus is the FGCU Eagles D2 Hockey Club. The Eagles’ 2023-24 season starts with their home opener Sept. 29 against the University of Tampa at Hertz Arena.

The hockey club was founded in 2002 and has been a member of the American Collegiate Hockey Association, known as the ACHA, since its beginnings as a club. FGCU Hockey has found great success in the club’s short history, as the Eagles’ Division 2 team has won four D2 ACHA National Championships, those being in 2012, 2016, 2018 and 2019, and are one of the most successful clubs in ACHA Men’s Division 2. 

Hockey has thrived in the Sunshine State, as the two NHL teams in the state, the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers, have been very successful. The Florida Everblades, an ECHL team, also call Hertz Arena home and have won three championships since 1998. Club hockey at FGCU and other Florida universities and colleges is more proof of that growth.

The Eagles are aiming to earn and celebrate what would be their fifth ACHA D2 National Championship by the end of the season. Finishing last season with a record of 19-9 and ranked as the #2 club team in the ACHA Men’s Division 2 Southeast Final Rankings to finish the regular season just behind Liberty University and by just missing the 2023 ACHA Division 2 Final Four, FGCU looks to return to the D2 Final Four after a near miss last season after finishing as the runners-up in 2022, as the University of Mary claimed the D2 National Championship that year.

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Hertz Arena and the Eagles will welcome lots of club teams to Fort Myers this season, including the aforementioned University of Tampa, the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE), the University of Maine, Bowling Green State University, the University of Delaware, Lindenwood University, Liberty University, the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass), the University of Minnesota, the University of Kentucky, Miami University (OH) and Northeastern University. These matchups between the Eagles and their opponents will be two apiece on back-to-back days on Fridays and Saturdays.

FGCU will head on the road a handful of times for showcases of games at Liberty, UMass and Miami (OH). These road showcases will be in October, November and January respectively, so the Eagles won’t be spending much time away from home throughout the season.

The FGCU Hockey Club just announced their D2 team roster for this season at the end of last week. The Eagles will be led by Eric Mabie as head coach and Justin Goldman as assistant coach, according to the club’s post on Instagram.

If the Eagles get hot during the season and are able to reach the 2024 ACHA Division 2 Final Four at the end of this season, they will have to head to St. Louis, Missouri in order to try and earn that fifth D2 title that the Eagles just missed back in 2022. Going just off campus to Hertz Arena will be well worth it as FGCU’s Club Hockey team could make history at the end of the season by tying Life University for a record fifth ACHA Men’s Division 2 National Championship.

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About the Contributors
James Curtis
James Curtis, Eagle News Sports Editor
James Curtis is a senior majoring in journalism and minoring in global studies. He is from Tampa, FL, and has known he wanted to be a journalist since taking a journalism class in seventh grade. He has been involved in sports for his whole life, including swimming competitively all the way through high school. His goal now is to be a sports journalist. When not covering sports games or writing stories, he's usually spending his free time with his friends or watching YouTube.
Jessica Piland
Jessica Piland, Eagle News Photo Editor
Jessica Piland is a senior majoring in political science and minoring in global studies. She found her passion for photography during her senior year of high school after shooting some film for fun with her grandfather’s camera from the 80s. In addition to her work as photo editor for Eagle News, she works as a staff photographer for FGCU Athletics and is a photography intern with the University Marketing and Communications department. As she enters her third year as photo editor, she is excited for the fun stories, campus events, and breaking news that Eagle News will be covering!

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