Fairfield’s impressive scope and variety of sports clubs teams keeps the tradition of mind, body and spirit alive

Fairfield’s impressive scope and variety of sports clubs teams keeps the tradition of mind, body and spirit alive

The rink was rocking on a cold Friday in January, skate blades ripping through the ice, and the boards vibrating with hard checks when Fairfield took on a very strong, non-league Providence College team.

The Friars took the initiative quickly and went on to win it. But it was a lesson learned for the Stags, who bounced back and beat Rowan College, 5-3, for a big road win the following day.

“Providence was our first game back this semester and we certainly played that way in the first period,” said Marc DeLuca’15, of Greenwich, Conn. “We finished on a high note though, winning the last two periods, 2-1. It was a wake up call heading into league play. It was a great crowd; a lot of guys on both teams grew up playing each other. There were families from both sides there and our usual fan section who show up every home game. It was an awesome crowd to play in front of.”

For most of the players, club hockey is a way to keep the game they love alive in their collegiate life and the opportunity to do so at Fairfield is a unique and memorable tradition for students.

“Club hockey has done so much for me at Fairfield University,” said Kevin Gavin,’15, from Westwood, Mass; “It gave me a chance to keep playing hockey which was very important for me in my college search. Also, it’s allowed me to make a bunch of great friends.”

Bonding and camaraderie is an important aspect of any sport and it’s no different with the men’s club hockey team.

“Outside of hockey we are all very close and are all great friends. I live with three other seniors on the team, Patrick Gill, Mike Marsters and Brendan O’Malley,” Gavin continued. “We take pride in being a hard working, close knit team, but at the end of the day we all joined the program to have fun and to continue playing hockey.”

Last year, the Stags won the Empire Collegiate Hockey Conference and advanced to regional competition for the national American Collegiate Hockey Association. Aside from 16 ECHC league games, several other games and or tournaments may be scheduled each season.

Players who try out for the team come from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and other areas in the Northeast. All either have played high level high school hockey, “Junior” hockey, or some sort of high level club in the past before playing at Fairfield, according DeLuca, who played on the team for three years before suffering an injury that sidelined him. He now serves as co-president of the team.

And the fans take it seriously as well. DeLuca said the stands at games are filled with students “because who doesn’t love to watch hockey.”

Top Sports Clubs Highlights

Men’s Rugby: This year, a new head coach, Marc Downes, was brought on board to lead the program on the pitch. Marc has played and coached on both the local and international level of elite rugby play. In 2014, the team finished in 1st place within the Tri-State Rugby Conference, was undefeated regular season and Conference Tournament Champions and ranked as high as 4th nationally in Division II play.

Women’s Rugby: The Women’s Rugby Club at Fairfield was founded as a sports club in 1994. Over the years, the women have established a solid program, competing against regional teams in the New England area. Those teams have included Hofstra, Bard, Marist and Sacred Heart. This season, the Ruggers elevated the program to Division II status in the recently formed Tri-State Collegiate Rugby Conference. All league competition occurs during the fall academic semester.

Equestrian: Fairfield is a proud member of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association, reporting to their governing body, in Zone 2 – Region 5.
The club’s membership is typically between 18-25 riders during any given semester. Rosters are usually formed at the beginning of each fall semester, but club membership opportunities remain open during the academic year.

Baseball: The Club Baseball Team is in its ninth year as an organization.  The program plays in the New England Club Baseball Association (NECBA) competing against teams such as Holy Cross, Northeastern, Trinity College, Yale, Conn College, Boston University and other colleges in the area. The Stags play a highly competitive fall season, with practices during the week and doubleheaders on the weekends. Last season, the team finished the regular season in 1st place (ten wins) in the Northeast Division on the NECBA and advanced to the conference semifinal round.

Sailing: The Sailing Club, founded in 2009, is a competitive sailing team captaining a fleet of six Vanguard Flying Juniors.

The Department of Recreation reached an agreement with The Captain’s Cove Marina, located in Bridgeport, CT. With floating dock space to anchor the six FJ’s, Cove handymen constructed a dock house to store the club’s necessities on the water. This fall, the club completed their first full season of regattas in New England and New York.