For a quartet of Colorado College Tigers, this weekend’s trek to Anchorage, Alaska, will be much more than just another road trip.
It will be a hometown reunion for senior captain William Rapuzzi and forwards Scott Wamsganz and Hunter Fejes. It will also be a home-state trip for forward Jared Hanson, who hails from Palmer, Alaska, 40 miles to the northeast. With Colorado College heading to the National Collegiate Hockey Conference next season, this represents a final chance for the Tigers’ Alaskan players to play in front of their families and hometown friends.
“We’re all pretty excited, and it’s basically a home game for us,” Hanson said. “I’m sure we’re all going to have 20-plus people there apiece, and we’ll have a little bit of extra energy playing in front of our families and friends. So, we should have a little more jump, and it’ll be a little more (intense) than a regular road game.”
To celebrate the occasion, the Rapuzzi family is hosting a big dinner that all the players are looking forward to.
“My mom, dad, sister and her husband and a few other family members are cooking up a big feast for the team on Thursday,” Rapuzzi said of a meal with Alaskan meats and steak and chicken. “It should be pretty fun.”
For Fejes, it’s a chance to play at Sullivan Arena, a place he frequented as a kid.
“You grow up watching the (Alaska) Aces, and some people in my family had season tickets, so I’d always go growing up,” Fejes said. “It was always a dream to play (there) against a hometown team, so I’m very excited.”
Wamsganz expects a loud atmosphere for the two-game series Friday and Saturday.
“Being from Alaska, I hate losing to those guys (Alaska-Anchorage) as I do losing to Denver,” the sophomore forward said. “It’ll be a pretty intense series, especially with the four of us being on the team. I don’t know how they’re doing on attendance this year, but there will definitely be a few more people in the stands.”
The Tigers head into the series 10-14-2 and 7-10-1 in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, with the Seawolves (3-16-5, 1-15-4) in last place. While it will be a fun trip for the four Alaskans, they’re traveling to “The Last Frontier” with a focused mindset.
“We’ll get to see some family, but it’s a business trip as well, so it’s important we get the four points,” Rapuzzi said.
The senior will be enjoying every minute as he plays in his home state.
“This being my senior year, you want to take advantage of the moment, live in the moment and not let anything pass you by,” Rapuzzi said.
“I’ve been told that by older guys, how it goes by so fast. It’ll probably be my last time ever playing in Alaska, so I’ll soak it in and have fun with it.”
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