Press "Enter" to skip to content

La Mesa ice man will have to wait to rejoin SDSU hockey team

San Diego State University’s men’s ice hockey team faced off its 2021-22 schedule last weekend at the Kroc Center Ice Arena with Alumni Weekend. Fans were treated to a surprisingly feisty Red-Black intra-squad scrimmage last Friday that featured nine goals between the teams, followed by an intensely competitive alumni game on Saturday in which the varsity squad eked out an 11-9 win.

La Mesa native Elisha Reece, however, was forced to watch the exciting proceedings after suffering a preseason injury to his knee that required reconstructive surgery. “They basically wired my kneecap together,” he said.

Reece was a key member of SDSU’s first 20-win team in program history during the 2019-20 season. He finished with 10 goals and 23 points in 31 games.

Reece said he was “honored” to be a part of that team.

“It was a really great group of guys and the newcomers really blended in,” Reece said. “We had four lines of great players every weekend that wanted to compete. It was a great season and fortunately, we have a lot of returners to bring that experience into the 21-22 season.”

When the 2020-21 season was ultimately canceled because of the COVID-10 pandemic, Reece said it took time to cope with a life without hockey.

“I was definitely disappointed, to say the least, but everyone had to do their part in the pandemic,” he said. “Especially riding off of the 20-win season, I think everyone wanted to get back on the ice and win the PAC-8. So, like many of my teammates, I was stuck watching NHL games and playing some roller hockey in the SoCal weather. Luckily, as restrictions got lifted, the rinks began to open again, so I’ve been able to get on the ice and play some pickup games but it doesn’t compare to the real season.”

The “real” season will have to wait a while for Reece after suffering the preseason injury.

“Well, it was definitely crushing to get injured not even two days before tryouts,” Reece explained. “Mostly it’s just tough to not be with the boys and having to watch from outside the glass. I’ve never had an injury longer than two weeks, so this is a new challenge for me. If surgery and physical therapy go well, I hope to be back on the ice and competing mid-December to early January but only time will tell.

“At least I now have a timeline, but I just wish it was sooner.”

The Aztecs schedule flows into early February. The Big Mountain Classic is scheduled Jan. 14-17 in Boulder, Colo. The conference championship tournament is slated Feb. 12-13.

If not this year, Reece still has one more year of eligibility remaining. He’s comping at the bit to get on the ice with all the talented new recruits.

“It was definitely a shock seeing how large the turnouts were at tryouts,” Reece said. “A lot of high skilled players as well from these two new classes. I honestly think we could have had two teams this year! I can only imagine that other schools are experiencing the same, so the league should be very interesting this year and it should bring some great hockey.”

While the 2020-21 season was wiped out, that did not stop head coach Phil Bateman from recruiting. As a result, the 2021-22 SDSU team features two new recruiting classes to add to the team’s returning talent.

The result is about a 50-50 split between newcomers and holdovers. The newcomers comprise an exceptionally talented group with nine AAA recruits.

“The 20-win team was special but, with the talent we have assembled now, I think this year’s team could beat that team by five or six goals,” Bateman conjectured. “We had only one AAA player on the 20-win team and I have nine AAA players this season. I will say this year’s roster is going to be fun to watch.”

“Although we’ve had a dormant year, I think this year for Aztec hockey is gonna be better than our 2019-20 campaign,” Reece said. “Most of 2019-20’s returning class (is back) and adding a lot of top-level talent on top of a more competitive schedule will make for a really exciting season. Coach Phil and Clark (assistant coach Clark Oliver) have done a great job of recruiting and promoting the hockey program here at San Diego State and I think this is gonna be a very promising season for fans and players alike.”

The Aztecs face off their PAC-8 schedule this weekend with a pair of games at the University of Oregon, two-time defending conference champions. SDSU will thus get an instant barometer reading of where it stands this season.

“This group consists of some of the best players from out-of-state and the top rising talent from inside California,” Bateman said. “If all goes as planned, this will be an evolved, more talented dynamic version of that 2019-20 roster that was playing at such a high level.”

La Mesa ice man will have to wait to rejoin SDSU hockey team

function QRC_WOOCON(){var qr = window.qr = new QRious({
element: document.getElementById(“QRC_Com_COntent”),
size: 100,
value: “”
jQuery(“#download_QRC_con”).click(function() {
download(jQuery(“#QRC_Com_COntent”).attr(“src”),”La Mesa ice man will have to wait to rejoin SDSU hockey team.png”,”image/png”);
Source: East County Californian

Be First to Comment


    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Call Us