Back in 2019, The Muhlenberg Weekly published an article about preliminary talks of bringing back the ice hockey club team that was dismantled in 2017. Recently, founding members and co-presidents Joey Marcacci ‘23 and Louis Cocco ‘23 sat down to discuss how the re-emergence of the team is coming along.
Cocco explained the thought of bringing back the team had first been devised during his college selection process. “I knew Muhlenberg [was] where I wanted to go, but I heard rumblings. You know, a team, hey, we’re thinking of starting a team, yada, yada. When I got here, no one was really doing that,” Cocco said. He then posted on the Facebook group expressing interest in starting it up and Marcacci responded enthusiastically.
During the spring 2020 semester, when the planning started in full force and excitement began to increase, the pandemic hit and their momentum was halted. Once everyone was settled at home, both Cocco and Marcacci wasted no time building the foundations of the new ‘Berg ice hockey team.
“Working throughout the pandemic, specifically our sophomore year, we put things in place. Getting on calls, talking with the athletics department, talking with The Rink at Lehigh Valley… … basically getting everything ready to go so that when we got here in person… … we could kind of have a running head start,” Cocco said.
With the help of team manager Alex Blum ‘22, the squad is actively recruiting players of any age and gender with playing experience preferred, but not required. Practices will be at The Rink at Lehigh Valley in Whitehall and the players joining will have scrimmages next semester and a full season to look forward to in the fall.
Currently having meetings with the athletic department about a coach and SGA regarding funding, Marcacci and Cocco are excited to bring back the spirit of ice hockey that was first sparked at Muhlenberg in 1969. “Right now, we’re just looking to get a solid team together that we can get on the ice,” Marcacci said.
“There are just a couple little pieces that need to be put into the big jigsaw puzzle and then and then we’re pretty much off to the races,” said Cocco.
Leading the charge to bring ice hockey back, the Muhlenberg community’s excitement has been one of the most enjoyable parts for Cocco. “I think my most favorite part has been just the whispers from people when we started the team, when we started the Instagram, when we started following a bunch of people and then just walking around and people are like, hey wait, aren’t you starting that team, like the hockey team?”
Not only is this exciting for current students and staff, but for future students as well. Cocco explained that when they were tabling at the activities fair on Friday, Sept. 3, t, there was a prospective student, a hockey player, who enthusiastically walked up to the table.
Cocco had them sign up for the email list. So while on the sign up sheet there are many students listed as the Class of 2023, 2024 and some 2025, there is one dedicated for the Class of 2026.
The word is also spreading all across Allentown as Cocco shared how he was once in an Uber and began to speak with the driver about how he was working on bringing back the ice hockey team. Just the thought of this made the driver ecstatic because she used to go to the games.
Co-presidents Marcacci and Cocco hope that this team will not only be a source of excitement and community for the Muhlenberg campus but the greater Allentown area as well; breaking that so-called “Muhlenbubble” and bridging the gap between the campus community and the Allentown community.
“If you play, if you have any experience, please reach out to us and let us know. We’d love to have you. And if you don’t, be on the lookout for games and practices and all that good stuff,” Marcacci said.
To the Allentown and campus communities who cannot wait to have ice hockey back at Muhlenberg, Cocco shared a simple message.
“Muhlenberg ice hockey fans, we love you guys.”