The boys are back.
The defending national champion Arizona State hockey team returned to the ice this week for the first time in full-squad workouts with new faces all around.
It's just the first week of conditioning camp, far too early to make any judgements on players for the season, but it's hard not to notice defensemen Eddie McGovern and Connor Schmidt out on the ice.
The pair came in with the highest expectations of any recruits, and they appear poised for big seasons. McGovern in particular looks out on the ice, using his 216-pound frame and legs built like tree trunks to bully other players on the ice.
Schmidt doesn't appear interested in waiting for real game action to start. The team does drills which include defensemen taking shots from the point. While most players hold back as to not risk a wild puck, Schmidt has been winding up and firing.
As for returners, sophomore forwards Ryan Ostertag and Eric Rivard seem to be itching for the season to start. Ostertag, possibly the fastest player on the team, was skating around dancing with the puck at full speed while Rivard picked right where he left off with his signature yell. He's a loud player to say the least, and he often voices his excitement or displeasure audibly enough for even the press box to hear clearly.
- The entire team attended workouts except for recent Northeastern transfer Ryan Belonger, who is expected to join the team Friday.
- Sophomore Troy Hoban cut his signature flowing black hair to the point it no longer hangs out of his helmet. The best hair on the team is now a competition between Schmidt, freshman Connor Mailey and Ostertag, who looks to be growing a mullet of sorts.
- Sophomore goalie Robert Levin got a new mask, but it is another all-white one. There are no plans to add any sort of design to it.
- Junior defenseman Jordan Young, who had offseason shoulder surgery, was dressed and skating, but going about half-speed.
- Tryouts begin Monday, with the maroon and gold game Friday night at Oceanside Ice Arena in Tempe.