So sad to see the results of the past year and read these posts, but they accurately reflect the complete implosion of the men’s hockey program.
I was at Middlebury during some of the glory years (97-01), and what’s been said about it being a premier sport for the college, an important college-community experience and a huge source of pride is completely right on. Great moments like winning the title at Norwich’s beautiful new rink, the OT NESCAC title win over Williams, the unexpected 2004 title (yes, yes, ‘congradulations’) and so on. Hockey was an important part of the Middlebury experience.
Watching from afar, it’s hard to understand what's changed.
Did the college intentionally deprioritise an expensive sport / one that may've required more admissions tips?
Have the changing demographics at Middlebury – much more diverse geographically, ethnically, socio-economically, etc. – meant that a Middlebury sport that was pretty white, Northeast, prep school, is just fundamentally less appealing to students and the administration? (I’d say that during my years, hockey games attracted a wide range of students – not just rich white kids.)
Has hockey simply been replaced by men’s basketball, which seems to draw big crowds, even though it was historically Middlebury’s weakest sport? Do townspeople go to basketball games now too? And is that simply because hockey is now so bad and basketball is doing well?
Is it just a coaching thing, as pointed out above re Sinclair? (It’s impossible to ignore this, plus various things that were talked about during and after that Beaney sabbatical season that didn’t paint a positive picture.)
I’m not sure what will to change exists within the college, if the hockey alums are putting pressure on the administration to fix it or if it’s just the way it is now. Regardless, another terrible season is hard to stomach.