Men’s hockey set to begin season under new head coach Reid Cashman

The Big Green will open its season next weekend with home contests against No. 14 Harvard University and the University of Connecticut.

by Jason Norris | 10/22/21 2:00am

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Reid Cashman was hired by Dartmouth in June 2020 after two seasons as an assistant coach with the National Hockey League’s Washington Capitals.

Source: Courtesy of Dartmouth Athletics

As the fall draws to a close, the men’s ice hockey team will lace up their skates next weekend for their first regular season game in over a year. On Oct. 29, the Big Green will play its home opener at Thompson Arena against conference-rival No. 14 Harvard University. The next night, the Big Green will host the University of Connecticut.

For head coach Reid Cashman, this will be his first season leading the Big Green. Cashman was hired by Dartmouth in June 2020 after a two-season stint in the National Hockey League with the Washington Capitals. Cashman had a standout career with Quinnipiac University, finishing as an All-American and Hobey Baker Award Top-10 Finalist as a player in 2005 and helping the Bobcats reach two Frozen Fours as an assistant coach in 2013 and 2016.

After finishing the 2019-2020 season sixth in the Ivy League with a 13-14-4 overall record, the Big Green was picked to finish seventh in a preseason poll of Eastern College Athletic Conference coaches.

Sixteen months into his head coaching career, Cashman is excited to finally see his team take the ice with two tough matchups to begin their season.

“We’re looking forward to the home opener on the 29th, and then we’ll reload and do it the next night,” Cashman said.

Cashman and his squad — which returns 11 players from the 2019-20 roster — will have to be ready from the start of the season  after being apart for over a year and now fielding new members. 

“For our three returning classes that lost a season of college hockey, it’s exciting for them to have the ability to compete,” Cashman said. “Our challenge is growth, development and finding a way to be better tomorrow than we were today and keep that mindset going for the next six months.”

The Big Green has not found success against Harvard in recent years, having lost the last five matchups against the Crimson — but forward Tyler Campbell ’23 is not deterred by starting their season against one of the best teams in the Ivy League.

“The team this year I’m looking forward to playing is Harvard, since they’ve had our number the past few years,” Campbell said, adding that the home game against Princeton is also likely to be “a favorite.”

After a successful campaign during his freshman season, Campbell is ready to compete again after a year off.

“There’s some rust I need to shake off, but I’ve played hockey my whole life, so it comes back real quick,” Campbell said. “I’m excited to see how this team can do with the new coaching staff. It’s a good group of guys and a knowledgeable staff who will bring a lot of detailed-oriented structure.”

While the opportunity to compete will be satisfying, Cashman is also looking forward to watching his squad show out on the ice under strong senior leadership.

“That group of five seniors have done a tremendous job of leading and I’m really excited about our ability to compete each day,” Cashman said. “In our scrimmage against Harvard last week, the guys were selling out and blocking shots, and I love that foundation as we build this team.”

According to forward Sam Hesler ’22, the Big Green’s preseason has been full of energy and hard work. After being apart for so long, Hesler said that it has been great to be back together and spend time on the ice and in the locker room with teammates.

Cashman agreed with Hesler, noting that one of the biggest things missing last year was team bonding — especially for new members who missed the integral opportunity to form relationships off the rink in the locker room.

“Our mantra this year is sort of that we have a lot of guys that work really hard and we have a lot of unselfishness on the team,” Hesler said. “There’s been a lot more hanging out with the guys this year than in the past. They added a ping-pong table to our locker room, which has got the competitive juices flowing, and it’s a place where the guys go to unwind and hang out after practice.”

As one of the few seniors on the team, Hesler has been focusing on welcoming the underclassmen. With such a young squad, leadership has become a point of emphasis for the Big Green.

“We’ve got 28 guys on the team, and more than half of them have not played a college game or even experienced what a normal year at Dartmouth looks like,” Hesler said. “The biggest role we’ve had as seniors is not setting the standard on the ice, but helping guide them off the ice.”

Cashman is hopeful that the seniors’ high level of effort will rub off on the younger players beginning their collegiate careers.

“I’m definitely excited to see the nine newcomers get on the ice,” Cashman said. “With 28 players all trying to find their roles and get ice time, they’ll find their place in our lineup.”

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