Notre Dame hockey skates the ice at new arena for first time

It wasn't an official practice but it was quite the historic event.

Around 3pm Monday, the Notre Dame hockey team learned they would get the opportunity to skate the ice at the new arena for the very first time.

The team finished up media interviews, then walked on over to the Compton Family Ice Arena, which is slated to open for its first game on October 21st--the night before the USC football game.

As the Irish players gathered their gear to take the ice, everyone sat on the edge of the bench. No one was going out there before anyone else.

"1, 2, 3!" yelled the Irish captains as the entire team took to the ice together for the very first time.

"Whoooo!"

It was quite the moment for a program that played in the Frozen Four a year ago and now has arguably the best college hockey facility in the country. And that's quite the change from the old Joyce Center rink, which was anything but the top hockey rink in the country.

The Irish will still play at the Joyce Center for at least two games against Ohio State on October 14th and 15th and in an exhibition game this Sunday at 6pm. That's always been the plan.

From there, the plan is for construction to be complete at the new arena in time for the first schedule game there on October 21st at 7:30 against Rensselaer. But that's all depending on construction finishing. While the rink itself is ready to go, there are so many things throughout the building that are not.

But everything is on pace as of now, according to Irish Associate Athletic Director and Compton Family Ice Arena General Manager Tom Nevala.

The auxillary ice rink, which will be open for use by the community, is not yet complete. Nevala says the ice should go down in the next week.

Irish coach Jeff Jackson named defenseman Sean Lorenz and forward Billy Maday, both seniors, as the team captains. Sophomore Anders Lee will be the alternate captain.

Jackson also said the Irish are near finalizing what conference they will play moving forward as they depart the CCHA. Jackson says it's between the new 'National Conference' and Hockey East. He said a decision should come very soon.

The first 'official' practice comes Saturday. The exhibtion game against Western Ontario is set for Sunday at 6pm at the Joyce Center. Notre Dame opens the season on the road at defending national champion Minnesota-Duluth on October 7th.


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