A new wrinkle to the preseason practice schedule had the Colorado College Tigers sweating on Tuesday night.
For the first time, Tiger assistants Joe Bonnett and Eric Rud took advantage of an NCAA rule allowing hockey coaches to work with four individuals at a time for short periods.
They made the most of it, judging from the red faces and labored breathing of the players stepping off the ice at Honnen Ice Arena.
"There was a good pace for sure," said sophomore center Cody Bradley.
The coaches decided to take advantage of the recent rule change this fall, especially with nine freshmen.
"We wanted to get a good start on things by focusing on the basics before we start practicing as a group," Bonnett said. "It's basic stuff that will get everyone up to speed."
Coaches can work with the entire team for two hours per week starting Sept. 15. The first official practice will be the home exhibition game against New Brunswick on Oct. 5.
For seniors like Michael Morin, the practice was a milepost en route to their final college season. Knowing that prompted the forward to stay in Colorado Springs over the summer to work out.
"I feel pretty good with my preparation," Morin said. "I'm pretty excited about this season with a new group of guys, a new season in a new league."
Colorado College enters the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference this fall.
"It's like a new beginning," sophomore wing Hunter Fejes said.
Everything is a learning experience for freshman forward Matt Hansen.
"I knew school was hard but I had no idea," he said. "150 pages a night, but I am getting used to it."
It is taking freshman Luc Gerdes a little time to get used to competing at altitude but the upperclassmen are helping rookies like him.
"They make sure we do not make the same mistakes they made their freshman year," he said.
"We just want to make sure to set the tone by emphasizing hard work now in practice will translate in games," assistant captain Jeff Collett said. "I like this group of freshmen. They all have hard work ethics."
The upperclassmen are emphasizing more contact during captain's practices; on-ice sessions organized by the players. More will be held over the next two weeks.
"Physical practices were something we got away from the past few years that we wanted to bring back," Collett said.
Hansen was just happy to finally start practicing.
"I played juniors for three years and it's great to finally get a chance to show my stuff at Colorado College," the former Cedar Rapids Roughriders standout said. 'It's unreal."
Last year's captain, William Rapuzzi, signed a one-year contract with the ECHL's Idaho Steelheads on Tuesday.