OPINION: What will these RMU hockey teams even look like if they come back?


Owen Krepps takes a look at how the hockey teams could initially shape up for a return. Photo Credit: Nathan Breisinger/Colonial Sports Network

Owen Krepps

Editor’s Note: This article is pure speculation on what the RMU men’s and women’s hockey teams will look like for this upcoming season upon potential reinstatement. With some of the best players leaving the organization, these rosters will be quite different. Reach out to us on Twitter if we missed any transactions.

The saga of RMU hockey has certainly been an interesting one in the past 50-60 days. Starting with two of the most successful teams on campus being canceled unexpectedly to a potential return if enough money is raised, chaotic is the perfect word to describe this story.

If you need a brief crash course on all the events that have taken place, look no further.

– Robert Morris announced via Twitter unexpectedly that they will discontinue the men’s and women’s hockey programs on May 26, 2021.

– The outcry from the hockey community resulted in Murry Gunty pitching an offer to the University to buy the RMU Island Sports Center. He was inevitably shut down.

– Reality started to settle in and many players abandoned ship via the transfer portal such as Jordan Timmons and Randy Hernández from the men’s team and Emily Curlett and Lexi Templeman from the women’s team.

– Members of the community came together and formed a committee called the Pittsburgh Hockey College Foundation and hired lawyer Jeffrey Kessler to represent the teams in a potential lawsuit against the school.

– With this ammunition, the ball was in the court of the University and sure enough, an announcement was made on July 14th to try and fundraise to save the two teams.

– July 31st was initially the day where the university will reevaluate its options and the money raised so far. The goal is $7 million over the next five years.

I will speculate a little on the future of these teams. Let’s say these teams do come back and RMU hockey is saved. Now what? Things cannot possibly go back to normal as several of the top student-athletes have already moved on. The women’s hockey team currently does not have a goaltender on their roster and I don’t think the CHA will allow shooter tutors to play as a team’s goaltender.

Here are the lists of every player so far that has transferred from either team. I am only including players that have successfully moved on and not players that simply entered the portal.

Men’s Hockey: Nick Prkusic, Matthew Guerra, Randy Hernández, Jordan Timmons, Brendon Michaelian, Bradley Stonnell, Aidan Spellacy, Cameron Hebert and Grant Hebert.

Women’s Hockey: Emily Curlett, Lexi Templeman, Raygan Kirk, Maggy Burbidge, Arielle DeSmet, Joelle Fiala, Molly Pedone, Chace Sperling, Michaela Boyle and Mackenzie Krasowski.

Here are the lineups from the last two games of the season for both teams with players that have transferred denoted in red and seniors or players that have made other commitments in blue.

Nine players from the men’s team have transferred and ten players have left from the CHA champion RMU women’s hockey team. Subtracting players that were seniors last season that may or may not come back for an extra year of eligibility makes things even worse.

These seniors include Nick Jenny, Dyllan Lubbesmeyer, Molly Singewald, Emilie Harley and Anjelica Diffendal. Diffendal and Harley have signed onto play in the National Women’s Hockey League and Lubbesmeyer signed with the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL in April. Also, Leah Marino has signed on with the Toronto Six of the NWHL. I am not going to assume things here and rely on these seniors coming back so they will be removed from the list.

That leaves 17 total players for the men’s team just seven for the women’s. The prospective line combinations are not pretty, so I will just leave it at that.

So now what? How do these teams become functional again? Well, before this entire catastrophe happened both teams had an incoming class set for 2021-22. Men’s hockey also added Mickey Burns from Vermont way back in April so there are some more players for each team.

These players include Tyler Orban (D), Ryan Coughlin (F), Anthony Calafiore (F), Darius Bell (G), and Ryan Oullette (G) for the men and Baylee Kirwan (F), Serena Slusarcyk (F), Sarah Marchand (F), Jade Maisonneuve (F), Sydney Pedersen (D), Riley Smith (D) for the women.

However, Marchand, Kirwan, Maisonneuve, Pedersen have all transferred over and committed to new universities on the women’s side. Still, adding these recruits up gets both teams much closer to a passable roster.

The transfer portal will have to be the saving grace for the teams to finish rounding out their rosters. I am not even going to pretend to know the minutiae involved or speculate on which players could come to RMU, rather just know that both teams will likely have to add through the portal to fill out the remainder of their rosters.

I think it is safe to say that these teams have lost a fair amount of talent. With players like Templeman, Curlett, and Hernández gone, it will be a tough pill to swallow for both coaches, but if there is one thing that RMU hockey is, it is resilient. Not only is this program potentially about to come back from extinction, but they have put together some of the best rosters in the past based on pure will and hard work.

If you helped save RMU hockey, you are not done yet. Support these teams when they potentially play this upcoming season. While losing a great bit of talent, you never know what to expect from these teams in both the CHA and AHA. Let’s not just save RMU hockey but support RMU hockey for years to come as well.

A whole lot can change before the season starts. Again, this article was simply mere speculation and a thought exercise on what the team would look like. We still have work to do in terms of resurrecting these programs.

Links to help:

RMU Hockey Donation Pledge Form

Save RMU Hockey GoFundMe

Pittsburgh College Hockey Foundation Website

Pittsburgh College Hockey Foundation Twitter

Pittsburgh College Hockey Foundation Instagram

Pittsburgh College Hockey Foundation Facebook

Additional coverage from TribLive Sports

Additional coverage from Pittsburgh Hockey Digest

Additional coverage from DK Pittsburgh Sports

Additional coverage from Friends of RMU Hockey

Additional coverage from Colonial Sports Network