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Yale 62

Yale Winter Sports: ’22-’23 Season

By Michael Kane
Naples, FL

Last month, the 2022-23 season ended for three Yale winter sports teams- men’s hockey, women’s hockey, and men’s’ basketball. Your correspondent enjoyed watching the final games on ESPN, from the comfort of warm and sunny Florida. The women’s hockey team repeated a dominant 2021-22 season, beating most opponents, including Harvard and Princeton, on the way to a 28-4-1 record before losing to Clarkson and Northeastern in postseason tournament play. The men’s basketball team (21-8) shared the regular season Ivy title with Princeton, then beat Cornell in the playoffs before losing to Princeton in the Ivy final and then losing to Vanderbilt in the NIT tournament. These two teams clearly have arrived at the top of Ivy League and close to national recognition. The young and inexperienced men’s hockey team did not have the satisfaction of competing at the top of their league this season, but they absorbed the lessons of losing and learned how to play and win. Speaking at our 60th reunion last June, Coach Keith Allain explained how the pandemic and the Ivy League’s sports shutdowns hobbled the hockey team by triggering an exodus of experienced players and damaging the recruiting process, leaving a small team that was short on experience and maturity. Results in the first half of the season were predictable as the team had 11 losses against only 2 wins by year end. Then, in 2023, Allain’s coaching and the character of the players began to pay dividends. The team figured out how to win – occasionally – and they climbed out of the Ivy league basement, upsetting several teams with better records (Colgate, Clarkson, and RPI) and holding Harvard to a 0-0 tie before losing in overtime 1-0. The trendline, 2023 record of 7 wins, 7 losses, and finishing 8-20-2 for the full season, leaves room to imagine a brighter 2023-24 season. We are fortunate to have a coach of Allain’s caliber at the helm. He helped his players forge positive memories of Yale hockey that should far outweigh the pain of the recent few losing seasons.

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