BY RANDY SCHULTZ –
Roster size of a hockey team can sometimes make or break a team’s season. For the University of Buffalo women’s hockey coach, Phil Basinski, he feels that size will be a determining factor in the success of this year’s team.
“We’ve got a larger than normal roster this year,” said Basinski of the ACHA UB women’s hockey team. “Our roster size can vary from year to year depending on much interest we have from the players.
“In the past we had as few as 12 or 13 players on the team. This year we have 20. We’re working on building from that piece of the team.”
For Basinski, recruiting for the UB squad can be a bit difficult. As a contract coach he’s not allowed to have anything that says UB hockey on it (like business cards, etc.), which can make recruiting a little more challenging.
“We rely on our players to do recruiting and whomever they can come up with,” added Basinski, who is assisted with the team by his son, Edward.
What are the strength’s of this season’s UB women’s hockey team?
“We have a real strong defense,” answered Basinski. “We have a fantastic starting goaltender, who is a senior and we will be losing her next year.
“We have an underclassman goalie and we’re looking to see if we can sign another goalie for the future.
“And we have some really strong forwards on our team. But we really don’t have the depth up front that we would like so that we could make a really strong run this year to the Nationals.”
Now in his third season with UB and working with a team that had to be rebuilt, Basinski explained why he took the job.
“I have a passion for coaching,” explained Basinski. “Especially women’s hockey.
“My daughter played hockey for a number of years for different teams and organizations. And all throughout it there seemed to be a disconnect between the coaches and the girls.
“They didn’t seem to understand that it was about the girls having fun. It just seemed to me that the girls never caught the passion for the game being fun.
“So I want it to be a great experience here at UB. They can learn the game, play the game, they can have fun with their friends without it being a crazy, over the top commitment.
“They come when they can (for practice or games). They play the best that they can. If they have a class, they don’t have to worry about missing it.
“This is a club team. Our priorities are about the student achieving their academic goals.
“Hockey is the icing on the cake for them.”
Basinski also has an interesting philosophy when it comes to coaching hockey.
“The goal I’ve had for every kid I’ve ever coached is to be playing hockey when they get to be my age” commented the UB coach. “If that happens then I think I’ve done my job.
“Plus, we let each player play up to the skill level they are capable of playing. There are some players on this team that are better than others on the team.
“We explain this to each player before each game.”
Does Basinski see a difference between coaching a women’s team versus coaching a men’s team?
“There are huge differences in my opinion,” responded Basinski. “Women are more about the community and men are more about the winning.
“You can be a lot harder on guys when it comes to discipline. You can give them an earful on the bench or at the next practice.
“Women don’t seem to respond to that in the same way. You have to do a little more explaining as to what your expectations of them are.
“You don’t call them out in front of their teammates. Instead you pull them aside and have a word with them.”
What is the ultimate goal of this year’s UB Women’s Hockey Team?
“At our first meeting this year I asked that question,” concluded Basinski. “And to a player all the seniors said to go to the Nationals.
“Very simply that is our goal.”
(Photo’s by Janet Schultz Photography, NY Hockey OnLine)