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Sandy strands St. Cloud State women’s hockey team

By Greg Johnson

The St. Cloud State women’s hockey team left for a routine weekend series at Providence last Friday. Four days later, the experience is anything but routine.

Sandy, the super storm that is wreaking havoc on the eastern United States, has extended the stay for the Huskies and no doubt many other college sports teams.

On Monday, the Huskies’ flight home from Boston’s Logan International Airport was canceled. Now they will not be able to leave for home until Thursday around 8:45 p.m. − at the earliest.

The Huskies did catch a break when their hotel had enough available rooms so they could remain in downtown Providence through their stay. As of Monday night, the team also had electricity and plenty of food at the hotel.

The day was filled with studying, a lot of card-playing and the occasional cardiovascular workout in the hotel pool.

“Our team has been great,” said coach Jeff Giesen. “The biggest concern for most of our team was about missing class. There is some anxiety over that because we have a good team when it comes to academics.”

The other concern was running out of things to wear. Everyone involved in the program packed only for a three-day trip.

“We were all running out of laundry,” Giesen said. “My assistant coach took them to a Laundromat today so they could do some personal laundry.”

Living in Minnesota, the St. Cloud contingent is used to bad weather. But dealing with a hurricane combined with a Nor’easter is a different experience.

“But we haven’t been in anything like this,” Giesen said. “This has been odd for us, because unlike with a big snowstorm no one can come by with a plow and get things going.”

Giesen added that some of the team members took a walk around the hotel to get a better idea of how hard the winds were whipping through Providence.

Most weekends, St. Cloud State plays on Friday and Saturdays. However, last weekend, the Huskies played Saturday and Sunday because the Providence men’s hockey team hosted

Maine on Friday and Saturday. The scheduling meant that the St. Cloud-Providence women’s games were played Saturday and Sunday afternoons, leading to the stranding.

Giesen said the team looked into re-booking its return trip to Minnesota on Wednesday, but there were not enough available seats for the entire team. They also inquired about busing home, but none of the bus companies could take the chance of driving through the storm that is also causing blizzard conditions along the route.

Today will bring some sense of normalcy to the Huskies as they take the ice at Providence at 10 a.m. to practice.

Giesen hopes to have his team prepared for its regular-season home debut when the Huskies are scheduled to take on Ohio State on Friday night and Saturday afternoon.

“Even if we are able to get home on Thursday night, we still might have to look at shifting our schedule to Saturday and Sunday,” Giesen said. “Ohio State may be in St. Cloud before we are.”