After missing out on a season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, UNLV Hockey honored their eight seniors on the team with a small ceremony before an inter-squad scrimmage of Scarlet versus Gray.
The seniors on the team include team captain Kirk Underwood, Jake Saxe, Colin Robin, Orion Linneham, D’Andre John, Eric Williams, Connor Hetzel, and Bas Assaf.
"It was a good kind of closure for the guys. It’s eight guys who didn’t get to play basically like a year and a half of their life, which they’re going to miss out on,” Head Coach Vignieri Greener said. “At least we can give them some kind of closure and their families some closure to end on a high note.”
These young men put their hearts and souls into making this team and university a place for future Rebels to be proud to be a part of. There is no doubt their legacy will live on past their time in Las Vegas.
"It felt amazing. It was really nostalgic because it just reminded me of my first game in college,” Hetzel said. “It just means a lot to me that I’ve been with this program from day one building up to what it is today and what it’s going to be in the future.”
With no season, the Rebels did not hold back on physicality during the scrimmage as they tripped and slammed one another into the glass.
Max Johnson kicked off the scoring followed shortly by Kyle Quinn scoring another giving Scarlet a two-goal lead (2-0).
Three minutes later, Underwood cut the lead in half with a goal of his own. Linnehan kept the momentum going with the last goal in the first half keeping Scarlet with a strong lead over Gray (3-1).
The Rebels picked up the pace in the second half while Williams managed to close the Scarlet lead with three goals against Scarlet, including the tie-breaking goal, making his last time on the ice as a Rebel more memorable.
UNLV ended the two-period scrimmage tied 5-5, and instead of overtime, the inter-squad teams went into an immediate shootout. Saxe won the game for team Gray after carrying the puck all the way up to the net to score.
"Today was definitely unreal. It was a great experience. The big thing we missed all year was essentially game days with the boys and going on the road trips,” Saxe said. “We had a lot more time to focus on school, but I didn’t really feel like an athlete this year.”
All of the seniors on the team will be missed, and the legacies that they have left behind will remain with the program as it continues to grow and earn more community support.
"All the younger guys- take lead. For the coaches, it’s been an amazing four-five years,” Assaf said. “It’s been amazing to see the program grow into what it has been today- from putting our gear into a storage room to now having our own locker room and rink to play at. Thank you guys for everything.”
UNLV Rebel Hockey pulled off a memorable night, not only for the players but for everyone in attendance. They look forward to next season to win some games in honor of all the seniors who missed out on their final season as a Rebel.