By Josh Hagwell
Over the next few weeks, each of this year’s participants in the Friendship Four will be featured in a brief article, helping the fans learn about the the teams and what to expect in November. Next up, the Union College Dutchmen.
The Union College Dutchmen have the seventh oldest college hockey program with contests being held as far back as 1904. The Dutchmen hockey team didn’t become an NCAA Division I program until 1991, as they were Division III before that. In its 66 seasons of collegiate hockey, Union has a .468 win percentage.
Despite Union’s program not having as much history as some other programs, Union has been consistently competitive in the world of college hockey last two decades. Former head coach Nate Leaman was the head coach at Union, where he won one ECAC Regular Season title and one NCAA Tournament appearance during his time with the Dutchmen from 2003-11. Coach Leaman is now the head coach at Providence College, which played in last year’s Friendship Four. Current head coach Rick Bennett has since built on the success of Leaman and Union as Coach Bennett boasts a record of 158-84-32 (.635) in his seven years at the helm. He has won 3 ECAC Conference Tournament Titles and he won the 2014 NCAA National Championship.
Union is represented in the NHL by a handful of former players. Most notably, Shayne Gostisbehere is playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. Mike Vecchione is also in Philadelphia while Daniel Carr plays for The Montreal Canadiens and Spencer Foo is with the Calgary Flames.
Players to Watch
The Dutchmen have three NHL draft picks on their roster. San Jose Sharks draft pick and senior Jake Kupsky will certainly be the man between the pipes this year. The sophomore duo of Jack Adams and Parker Foo, who have been drafted by the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks respectively, will look to add numbers up front. Outside of the draftees, seniors Cole Maier and Brett Supinski will provide the production. Senior defenseman Greg Campbell doesn’t put up flashy numbers, but he can definitely help solidify Union’s backline.
“The Friendship Four tournament has been a phenomenal event for ECAC Hockey and its member institutions. All aspects of the tournament during the first years have been first class, and created life-long memories,” said ECAC Hockey Commissioner Steve Hagwell. “I know the teams participating in the 2018 tournament are eager to visit the great city of Belfast and to experience everything the Friendship Four has to offer.”