After a 2011-12 season that ended sooner than the players, coaches and fans wanted, the Colorado College hockey team took to the ice for the first of a month’s worth of captain’s practices Monday at Honnen Ice Arena.
“We had really high expectations for last season and it didn’t turn out the way we wanted,” CC captain William Rapuzzi said. “Any true competitor, it’s going to leave a sour taste in your mouth for quite awhile — it’s not something you can get over real quick.”
Rapuzzi said that the team used that bitter taste as motivation throughout spring workouts and over the summer, making the players work that much harder whether on the ice or in the weight room.
“You do everything you can to make sure that doesn’t happen again,” he said.
That process took a step forward Monday as the Tigers began the first of four weeks of captain’s practices. The NCAA limits formal practice time, so the players work out on their own without the coaching staff.
Air Force will have the first of its captain’s practices on Saturday from 5:30-6:45 p.m.
The first of those practices for Colorado College was impressive. The team started with passing and puck-handling drills before quickly transitioning into full-ice drills. The practice ended with a spirited 7-minute scrimmage.
“That was a good first practice; that’s something to build off of,” Rapuzzi said. “We did a lot of flow and passing, just trying to get the rust off from this summer.
“The tempo didn’t let up at all.”
The Tigers can’t afford to let it. The first true practice won’t happen until Oct. 6 and the first exhibition game will be the next evening. The games that count begin Oct. 12 when CC hosts Clarkson, so every time the Tigers get together, whether a captain’s or an actual practice, is vital.
“These aren’t throw-away practices,” Rapuzzi said. “We have a whole month of these and we use them to built the new team concept and team identity and for guys to fill in their new roles.
“You get right into games so these are just as important as normal practices and you have to treat them like that. Just because coaches aren’t here doesn’t mean you can slack off.”