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Looking to test the waters of the college world and play hockey at the same time? You may not have to look any further than Quincy College.
Located just 10 miles south of Boston and easily accessible on the MBTA’s Red Line, Quincy College has long been a commuter school. Now the junior college is adding a men’s club hockey team for the 2022-23 season. Known by the nickname the Granite, the team is scheduled to be a member of the Collegiate Hockey Federation’s New England Independent Hockey Conference.
Quincy is scheduled to play 24 games this year with its home games at Quincy Youth Arena. Practices are scheduled to start the second week of September with conference games beginning in early October.
Men’s hockey is the fifth sport added to Quincy’s athletic offerings since 2017, joining men’s basketball, baseball, soccer and co-ed cross country.
“We think it is a great opportunity,” said Jack Raymer, Quincy’s director of athletics. “There is really nothing for kids in a 25-mile radius of Quincy College — unless they are in a four-year school — to play competitive college hockey. We think there is a demand out there and we are really excited about bringing it to the Quincy area and the local Boston area.”
Raymer said the idea of a men’s hockey program had been in the works for a few years but was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“A lot of people have said to me, ‘You know the area we are in, the Greater Boston area, is big for high school hockey,’ ” he said. “Your only options out of high school are to play for a junior team or join a nighttime skate at a rink. So, we tried a few years ago and then of course the pandemic hit. It really set us back.”
Kyle Robertson, who has 23 years of experience leading regional junior teams around Massachusetts, including the past four years with the Walpole Express, will serve as Quincy’s head coach. Robertson will still coach with the Express.
“It’s definitely been a challenge but it’s fun,” said Robertson. “There is so much hockey out there and I think there is an avenue for players who want to get an affordable college education and play competitive hockey.”
Robertson’s assistant coach is Matt Gibbons, who also will continue serving as coach of the North Quincy High School varsity team.
“To be able to start something new is pretty special,” Gibbons said. “I want the kids to know that we are taking this as seriously as possible and are going to make it as competitive as possible.”
Quincy has 14 players committed, mostly players who previously played in high school and some who played juniors. Robertson said a bunch of other potential players are “on the fence.” He said a minimum of six more players are needed to field a roster, but he would love to have a roster of 25 players.
Playing for Quincy can be an option for players in their mid-20s who are getting back into college. Gibbons said the main goal is trying to get players who are interested in the “full four classes per semester” and to make them a part of the Quincy College community.
Quincy College offers 37 associate degrees and 27 certificate programs, as well as bachelor’s degrees in computer science and business management. Gibbons said the cost for a full-time student to attend is approximately $10,000 per year, and that does not include financial aid.
“We seem to be everyone’s last resort in a way, which I completely understand,” Gibbons said. “It’s a brand-new program. Our biggest fight is trying to convince these guys that this is a good opportunity for them. Some kids who are playing two years of juniors end up maybe playing club hockey somewhere. We are trying to fill that gap a little bit.”
Students who are considering a gap year after high school, but who still want to play hockey, could find Quincy an attractive option.
“This is kind of a juniors/prep school year,” Gibbons said. “They are not wasting a year of not getting any credits, and they get a chance to play very competitive hockey. If the goal is to move on from that, then we would help them do that. If the goal is to take classes and they don’t know what to do, and they want to keep playing hockey instead of going to play on a second or third junior team, maybe this is the pathway. This is a much cheaper version to get an extra year. The cost is a huge benefit.”
Added Raymer, “For that kind of price, it’s the best ‘prep school’ around. We have a great faculty, academic advisors and tutoring. We can help these kids who are a little skeptical about going to college and show they can succeed, as well as continue to play the sport that they love.”
Prospective students can learn more about the hockey program on the Quincy College website or by following the program’s Instagram account — @quincycollegehockey. Additional questions can be emailed to Robertson at email@example.com or Gibbons at firstname.lastname@example.org.