Ice Hockey Club Glides Their Way to the Governor’s Cup

For a building filled with ice, you’d be surprised by how heated things can get. In PNC arena, NC State’s ice hockey team battled their greatest rival, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Monday, Nov. 20. The teams skated across the ice in hopes of claiming the Governor’s Cup, which was in fact brought by Governor Roy Cooper himself.

Sam Banasiewicz, a senior in public relations, has played ice hockey for more than 18 years and has been a part of the State team since his freshman year. Since then, Sam has grown as a leader for the team and is now one of the captains of State’s ice hockey club. Part of Banasiewicz’s responsibilities as co-captain is to set an example and provide guidance for his team, “these past two years I’ve had to worry about more than myself, I’ve had to worry about the others on the team.There’s a lot more responsibility and seriousness with being co-captain,” he explained. Banasiewicz doesn’t do it alone though, he has his teammate and friend, Luis Gimenez Madill to help captain as well.

Madill, a senior in finance and sports management, grew up playing ice hockey as well. After a serious injury before coming to State, Luis didn’t think he would play ice hockey again. After some encouragement from his friend, Luis decided to try out and join the team. Like Sam, Luis has learned to pick up responsibilities as a leader for the team. “I have always been more of the type to lead by example than being vocal” Luis stated, “I try to offer my advice and give one-on-one help, especially with the younger guys when they ask how they played.’

If you ask the captains about their favorite aspects from being on the team, they’ll both describe the positivity and closeness between the guys on the team. Chris Wing, a senior in business marketing and president of the ice hockey club, describes the team as a family, “not just people who show up to practice but there’s guys who live in a house together and it makes us feel like a family, especially when we hang out outside of the practices and games.”

While playing for the team has been a lot of fun for the players, they can all agree that ice hockey has taught them a lot about time management. With classes and the rising pressure to find internships and jobs, the men should find time for fun and for work. “It’s been a struggle to balance all of my commitments; senior year made things get very real,” Banasiewicz explained. With the rise of responsibilities also came more opportunities through potential jobs and internships for the players.

Overall, ice hockey has been a rewarding outlet and channel for expression for the players. For a few hours each week, they gather to play a game they love with people they can connect with and have fun. There are also the nights where they get to play in front of a crowd. Last year’s Governor’s Cup game was the highlight of the season for the team, with 6,100 fans filling PNC to watch.

This year’s game continued the tradition and excitement with several thousand fans coming to watch the players battle for the Governor’s Cup. The teams were head to head until the final quarter, then State claimed the Governor’s Cup and a winning score of 5-3.

Banasiewicz, Madill and Wing recount their time with the ice hockey club as some of their best moments at NC State. Through their time with the team, they acquired skills not only for the ice rink but also for future job and life opportunities. Participation in club sports can teach students important life skills to carry with them years after graduation.