Vibes are high around the 2023-24 Icepack right now, and for good reason. New and old faces alike have been congregating at Invisalign Arena for the past two weeks with immense excitement for the season ahead. The team has worked tirelessly in order to get ready for the season opener on Friday night against the East Carolina Pirates, nobody can deny that.
However, at the end of the day, hockey is fun. It's meant to be a release valve from the everyday life stressors, ranging from aerospace engineering courses to part-time jobs and everything in between. For that reason, I decided to take the fun route during Icepack Media Day on Tuesday, asking each of the 29 players a interesting hypothetical question. Enjoy.
1) Would you rather have hands for feet or feet for hands?
Ricky Frosch (#5)
Defense / Long Island, NY / Grad Student / Physiology
Forward / Eastover, NC / Freshman / Engineering
Forward / Winston-Salem, NC / Freshman / Engineering
Goalie / Raleigh, NC / Grad Student / Electrical Engineering
Forward / Youngsville, NC / Senior / Information Technology
2) Would you rather never be able to taste food or see color?
Drew Breshingham (#14)
Forward / Oswego, IL / Senior / Environmental Tech & Management
Defense / Greensboro, NC / Freshman / Sport Management
Defense / Livingston, MT / Freshman / Aerospace Engineering
Forward / Vernon Hills, IL / Freshman / Computer Science
3) Would you have a better chance to survive zombie or robots?
Joey Gouveia (#21)
Forward / Raleigh, NC / Junior / Elementary Education
Forward / Amherst, NH / Sophomore / Business Administration
Defense / Charlotte, NC / Sophomore / Business Administration
Goalie / Cary, NC / Sophomore / Business Administration
4) Would you rather always have an itch or always smell bad?
Jackson Cowen (#4)
Defense / Cary, NC / Senior / Sport Management
Forward / Apex, NC / Junior / Sport Management
Defense / Raleigh, NC / Sophomore / Sport Management
Forward / Cary, NC / Freshman / Business
5) If you could bring three things with you on a desert island, what would you bring and why?
Alex James (#15)
Defense / Lakeville, MN / Junior / Finance
Defense / Apex, NC / Freshman / Business
Defense / Georgia, VT / Freshman / Aerospace Engineering
Goalie / Danvers, MA / Junior / Industrial Engineering & Economics
6) Do you think you’d have a better chance at getting 10 rushing yards in an NFL game or 2 three pointers in an NBA game?
Emery Oliver (#22)
Forward / Raleigh, NC / Junior / Electrical Engineering
Forward / Geneva, SUI / Sophomore / Textile Technology
Forward / Holly Springs, NC / Junior / Bioprocessing Science
Forward / Wake Forest, NC / Junior / Business Management
7) If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
Luke Jagielski (#16)
Defense / Apex, NC / Senior / Marketing
Forward / Holly Springs, NC / Sophomore / Entrepreneurship
Forward / Raleigh, NC / Junior / Parks, Recreation and Tourism
Forward / Holly Springs, NC / Sophomore / Business Entrepreneurship
For those who enjoy sports, there's nothing quite like fall. The leaves change colors, the air smells better, but, most importantly, hockey is BACK.
While excitement levels are high for a new chapter in the metaphorical Icepack book, anxiety and stress filled the room for what was arguably the most merciless round of tryouts in the Icepack's history. For those who have been around the Icepack, it comes as no surprise that this year's tryouts were a gauntlet of competition.
"I've been here for four years now, and this has hands down been the fastest tryouts the team has had in that time," said senior defenseman Jackson Cowen during Tuesday night's tryout session. "It speaks to what Tim [Healy] and former players have built and how much the game has grown here. It's great to see the foundation of the team starting at a high level, and we believe we're going to be built to win games in March."
Defense wins championships, plain and simple. It's a mantra as old as time in the sports world, and continues to be proven true. Luckily for the Icepack, there was a clear surplus of talented blue-liners at this year's tryouts, and the team's veterans took notice.
"The defensive corps is already looking like it'll receive a major boost," said graduate student forward Garrett Auriene. "The skates have been high tempo, and it's clear to us that we have a chance to go to nationals. We're bringing the program to a whole new level this season, and we can't wait to get our redemption tour underway."
Tensions may have been high this week, but that doesn't mean there wasn't a sense of relief to be back at the rink.
"It's a good feeling to be back here with the guys," junior forward Zack Robinson said after an intense shift during Tuesday's tryout scrimmage. "There's a lot of talent coming in this year, and it's just good to be back with the boys and to meet some of the new faces that I'll be seeing around the rink all year long."
New faces is certainly one thing the Icepack has plenty of this season. With the conclusion of tryouts on Thursday night, the team will see 13 new faces this year, accounting for nearly a 45% turnover from last year's roster. With less than two weeks until the season opener against the East Carolina Pirates, it's all "pedal to the metal" in order to get ramped up for the grueling season ahead.
By: Connor Corrigan-Webster
Team Sports Writer & Journalist
136 days. That's how long it's been since the Icepack last took the ice. Feels like an eternity, right?
While the Icepack may have fell short of their national championship aspirations last season, all eyes are looking through the windshield at the season ahead. With one of the best recruiting classes in school history, the team aims to collect some new talent and make a push for their first ever national title.
The first piece of the puzzle in the Icepack's quest for glory is their game schedule. With the 2023-24 game-slate being released today, I wanted to walk you all through some of the many intriguing and important dates and events to mark in your calendars.
If you want to catch all the action at Invisalign Arena this season, be sure to purchase your season tickets here!
Home & Season Opener vs. East Carolina Pirates
The Icepack opens their season at home with a game against the in-state East Carolina Pirates (9/8). The team last played ECU during the 2021-22 season, in which they routed the visiting Pirates by a score of 8-0.
The opening game of any season always has a sense of excitement around it, regardless of opponent or location. The itch for hockey finally gets scratched with the initial puck drop, and there's no better place to kick off an inevitably-exciting season than at home in front of the amazing Icepack fans.
The Icepack are one of the biggest brands in the American Collegiate Hockey Association and we are love our sponsors. Last year over over 45 thousand people saw the Pack play live at Invisalign Arena, PNC Arena and Carter-Finley Stadium. The Pack will host the likes of Liberty, UNC and Texas A&M and you can be part of the action. By sponsoring the Pack you get prime sign placement on gamedays, access to fun gameday giveaways and best of all, you help The Pack! With under 3% of our funds coming from the NCSU, our sponsors help push us to victory! Click here for sponsorship opportunities or contact Head Coach Tim Healy here. All sponsorships are fully customizable.
After playing in one of the greatest spectacles in ACHA history just mere days ago, the Icepack now looks to redirect their focus to a bigger task ahead. The upcoming weekend marks the ACHA South Regionals, a single-elimination tournament in Springfield, Virginia in which the two teams left standing on Sunday will each receive a bid to the 2023 National Tournament. The schedule was recently released for which teams will play on Friday in the opening games, and I bet you can’t guess who the Icepack drew in their first matchup…
That’s right, the UNC Tar Heels. What’re the odds? Game 6 is normally a phrase you hear in regards to a gridlocked and tight-knit NHL playoff series, but that isn’t the case here. The bitter rivals will face off for the sixth and final time this season in Virginia on Friday night, each with hopes of punching their ticket to the Gateway City in mid-March. The Icepack walk into regionals down two games to three in their season series against UNC, but have a few advantages that may prove to be the difference upon puck drop.
The most notable advantage the Icepack has on the Tar Heels coming into their regional matchup is an ironic one: UNC making the ACCHL Championship Game. While this initially seemed to be a tough break for the Icepack a few weeks ago, falling short of capturing their fifth straight ACCHL Championship, stadium issues forced the championship game between the Tar Heels and Penn State Nittany Lions to be played this Thursday instead. This forces UNC to go from Winston-Salem, North Carolina to Springfield, Virginia overnight in order to make their Friday night matchup against the Icepack, and provides NC State with the chance to take advantage of a tired, emotional team with car legs.
Another leg-up the Icepack has on the Tar Heels is something they haven’t had all season long up until this point: momentum. Through their first three matchups this season, the Tar Heels managed to win all three, including two wins in Raleigh. However, momentum changes quickly in the game of hockey, and it’s currently swinging the Icepack’s direction. The boys in red have won their past two games against UNC, once on the road and most recently in front of 26,000 fans at Carter-Finley Stadium outdoors.
The Icepack has had an extremely successful week thus far, collecting spotlight from several major news outlets and social media pages for playing in one of the largest outdoor collegiate hockey games in history. However, there are bigger fish to fry for NC State, with the ultimate season goal on the line this weekend. It’s been a week of NC State dominance over UNC, and the Icepack will look to keep that trend going on Friday night.
Well, today’s the day. After a long and exciting lead up over the past few weeks, the NC State Icepack finally gets their chance to do something not many ACHA teams can claim: play in an outdoor hockey game… in North Carolina, no less. To add the cherry on top, the Icepack will take on the bitter rival UNC Tar Heels in their once-in-a-lifetime opportunity under the big lights.
The Icepack and Tar Heels walk into this highly anticipated matchup feeling good about themselves following dominant performances in their spring semesters. The Icepack recovered from a shaky first half of the season, ripping off an 8-game win streak and a 10-3 record overall in the second half. The Tar Heels come into the outdoor battle on a heater of their own, boasting an impressive 6-1 record in the spring semester. Their lone loss came at the hands of NC State at home just two weeks ago.
There’s certainly some good home team juju in Carter-Finley Stadium for the Icepack, as teams that play host in the venue are 7-1 this season. This includes the hometown Carolina Hurricanes dismantling the visiting Washington Capitals by a score of 4-1 on Saturday night in the 2023 NHL Stadium Series. However, road games have not been an issue for the visiting Tar Heels, a team who’s gone 3-0 against the Icepack in away games.
Neither the Icepack nor the Tar Heels are strangers to playing on NHL ice, especially against one another. This will be the second game this season the two teams have played each other on an NHL-regulated ice surface, the first being the Governor’s Cup at PNC Arena at the conclusion of the fall semester. UNC took this game by a score of 4-2, securing their first Governor’s Cup victory since its inception. The Icepack holds the all-time upper hand in this area, notching a 5-1 overall record in games on NHL surfaces.
There’s a clear winner of this outdoor feat, regardless of which team comes out victorious: the growth of hockey in North Carolina. North Carolina, and specifically the Greater Triangle area, has become a hotbed for youth hockey, in large part due to the advancement of the club collegiate programs in the state over the past decade.
Two ACHA teams playing under the lights of a football stadium is something few North Carolinian hockey fans would have predicted just a few short years ago, and there’s no doubt a spectacle such as this will only continue to grow the game for years to come.
In addition to Senior Night, the Icepack will be retiring #35 in honor of Jorge Alves. Alves played for the pack between 2001 and 2003. While with the Pack, Alves, the Stoughton, Ma native became the most decorated goalie in NC State history, having had a season for the ages in 2002-2003, capturing the following;
Bull Market will be giving three lucky ticket holders a chance at $10,000 at the Icepack home finale on February 3rd. All fans 18 and older who purchase tickets by 2:00 pm Friday the day of the UNC game will automatically be entered in for a chance to take a half-full ice shot for $10,000. The more tickets you buy, the more chances to be picked to take your shot! Season ticket holders are automatically entered. Purchase your tickets here.
The Icepack will take on UNC-Chapel Hill on Monday, February 20th at Carter-Finely Stadium. Please check back here for regular updates.
Tickets: Non-ticketed per the NHL. Entrance is free. However, this event will cost the self-funded programs over $10,000. Our title sponsor, CM Red is offsetting a portion of the fee but we will be accepting donations to cover the rest of the cost. Suggested donations are the price of Icepack home games, $10. Donations can be made at the door, through this site or via Venmo @IcepackNCState.
Entrance to use: TBD
With the beginning of the spring semester, the NC State Icepack received some much needed reinforcements in the form of newcomer Chase Williams. Here’s a little bit more about the newest member of the team.
Chase is currently a first-year business major with an entrepreneurship concentration. He’s shuffled all across his forward lines throughout his playing career, but will likely dedicate most of his time to right wing. The incoming forward was born and raised in the Raleigh area, spending most of his youth hockey career with the Carolina Junior Hurricanes. His most recent stint prior to joining the Icepack was with the USPHL’s South Shore Kings U18 team, where he notched 19 points in 18 total games played, the only player on the roster to finish above point-per-game.
When it comes to goals for his rookie season with the Icepack, Chase’s answer is simple: help the team win. “My goal is to give our boys the best possible chance for a deep playoff push,” Williams noted. “Getting back into my rhythm will be crucial, knocking the rust off after not playing games for nine months is something I need to do as soon as possible.” The rust certainly didn’t take long to shake for Chase, as he recorded an assist in each of the team’s two games against the Delaware Blue Hens this past weekend.
While he certainly wishes he was playing with the team from the get-go, Chase does believe there were bright spots in being forced to watch the Icepack play for the first few months. “I feel that practicing with the team and watching the games for a few months has helped me sit back and pick up on the squad’s strengths and weaknesses,” Williams said. “Obviously it was difficult not being able to suit up for many of our big matchups so far, but I hope I can use it as an advantage when I get my chance.”
Familiarity is everything when entering a new system, and Chase certainly has plenty of that coming into the Icepack family. In fact, one of the biggest things he’s looking forward to is finally being able to take the ice again with guys who he’s played with before. “Guys like Zack Robinson, Zach Herman, and Philip Bailey are old long-time teammates and friends of mine, so being able to jump on the ice in game action with them will be electric.”
“Something I am very confident in is my innate scoring ability, and I feel it is my best tool as a player,” Chase details when asked his biggest strength as a player. It’s no secret the Icepack certainly hoped for a more result-successful first semester, but Chase’s natural abilities may be exactly what the team needs to push themselves over the edge and get back to winning ways. While the sample size is certainly small, the Icepack is scoring at a 5.0 goals-per-game rate since Williams was inserted into the lineup, significantly higher than the 2.76 goals-per-game clip the team was scoring at in all games prior.
Since Chase became an official full-time member of the Icepack, the team’s offense has certainly seen a clear and obvious boost. While the team will most definitely still see their fair share of hardships and struggles over the second semester, it’s clear Chase has had nothing but a positive impact thus far, and the team’s odds of overcoming adversity only increase with his presence.