Hutton Arena figures to be a very busy spot for the next several weeks. While the volleyball team continues the final two weeks of its season, Hamline's basketball teams are starting theirs. The men's and women's teams start practices (as do the hockey teams) on Monday, October 15. All are approaching the upcoming seasons with enthusiasm.
Men's Basketball has had three straight winning seasons for the first time in two decades. Head coach Nelson Whitmore heads into camp with four returning starters from the team that won three of its last four games to tie for sixth place in the MIAC ... only to lose out on the playoffs via the tie breaker system. The Pipers play five of their first six games at home, starting with Wisconsin-Lutheran November 17.
Women's Basketball coach Kerri Stockwell had just one senior on her 2011-12 squad. But that senior -- Steph Rice -- was emblematic of the problems the Pipers faced last year. Injuries held Rice to just 19 games. Stockwell and her troops look for good health as they start camp for here third season. Only three players saw action in all 25 games last season. Ironically, the women also open with Wisconsin-Lutheran. But thye will play them in a tournament in Milwaukee on November 16.
The hockey teams, on the other hand, figure to have new looks to them in 2012-13. New men's coach Doc DelCastillo is looking to replace his top two scorers and top goalie, all lost to graduation. Although a solid nucleus returns, there figures to be over a dozen new faces on the ice for the first day of practice. DelCastillo and his staff don't have a lot of time to sort through the bodies. The Pipers face Gustavus on October 26 in Blaine at the annual MIAC Hockey Showcase. The Piper men have made the MIAC playoffs five straight seasons.
Women's coach Steve DeBus starts his third season with 16 new faces are expected on the ice to join 15 returnees for the first day of drills. Last year, the Pipers doubled their win total from the year before, finishing 8-15-2. The women pucksters are nomads of sorts for October. Their regular home arena, Warner Coliseum, doesn't have the ice in yet. So, HU will play three "home" games at Vadnais Heights and one at Ridder Arena at the U of Minnesota before decamping for the Coliseum. The first of the Vadnais Heights games is October 26 against Wis-Superior.