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The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

Club Spotlight: UWL Women’s Hockey sees record recruitment

UWL+Womens+Hockey+Club+Player.+Photo+taken+by+John+Gaynor.+
UWL Women’s Hockey Club Player. Photo taken by John Gaynor.

Formed around a decade ago, The University of Wisconsin La Crosse Women’s Hockey Club is one of 24 sports clubs here on campus, that are student-led for others to join. The Club’s season recently ended, and The Racquet Press took a skate around the ice to find out more about the UWL Women’s Hockey Club.  

Throughout COVID-19, the club faced several challenges. The University onset regulations regarding club sports and activities and did not allow the club to have a season. The members of the club did not get to play the sport that they love, and the club was also struggling to recruit members. The club also struggled financially during the pandemic, as they were unable to fundraise and afford the basic costs required to operate.  

The Women’s Hockey Club had trouble recruiting players during the pandemic and struggled to keep the team relevant to the UWL student body as they were unable to play games or practice.  The team has since recovered from struggles and recently finished their 12-game 2023-2024 season this past Sunday, February 4th 

The team is comprised of mostly first-year and second-year students who plan on participating in the Women’s Hockey Club throughout their time at UWL. In the 2023-2024 season, the club gained the greatest number of new players in team history outside of when it played its inaugural season nearly a decade ago.  

Currently comprised of 22 players and a small staff, the team is led by USA Hockey certified Head Coach Dustin “Dusty” Jergenson and Assistant Coach Lauren Wildas. In addition to a team trainer, scorekeeper and clock manager who are all volunteers. Jergenson has been the head coach since 2021 and has been with the team for four years, serving as assistant coach before his current role.  

Women’s Hockey Club President Alaina Schauf said, “He [Coach Jergenson] helped my sophomore year (2021), then has been our head coach for these past two years and he is great. He loves the sport just as much as us, if not more, and he truly wants us to succeed.”  

The club currently practices and plays games at La Crescent Ice Center, in La Crescent, Minnesota, just 15 minutes away from UWL. During the season, the team practices every Tuesday and Thursday from 9:15 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. so that players can attend practice and work around busy work and class schedules.  

Schauf also commented on the team’s culture. She explained that while the team created a relaxed culture, they remain competitive.

The club played a rough schedule this year ending with a 3-9 record but faced several higher division opponents, one of which was St. Thomas University, a division one club program. The UWL Women’s Hockey Club only lost 5-2, led by First-year Goalie Hailee Scheier who allowed only five goals on 74 recorded shots on the goal by St. Thomas University.

Scheier has played in most of the club’s games this season and has made a big impact as a first-year player. “It was scary at first being only a freshman, but having my teammates believe in me is something that has excelled my success in a positive manner,” she said.  

Scheier identified some key attributes of the club – friendship, community and belonging, which have helped her succeed on the ice.  

First-year Forward Vanessa Clavey explained her reason for finding success on the team has been the many opportunities to learn from her upperclassmen teammates and the coaching staff.  

Clavey said, “Being on the team and continuing to play the sport I love has helped me to still be able to complete all my schoolwork while still playing at a competitive level with my teammates.” 

If students are interested in becoming a member of the UWL Women’s Hockey Club, they can find the club’s table at one of UWL’s many campus involvement festivals, send an email to [email protected] or they can follow the club on social media, @uwlwhockey on  Facebook, Twitter (X), and Instagram 

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About the Contributor
John Gaynor, Sports Reporter
Year at UWL: Freshman
PGPs: He/Him
Hometown: Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin
Major: Marketing
Minor: N/A
Other Campus Involvement: Running Club, Track & Field Team
Future Plans after Graduation: Work in the aviation industry
Favorite Activity in La Crosse: Walking near the river
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