Cyclone Hockey to celebrate senior night vs. Midland

Cyclone Hockey and coaching staff pictured with the Central States Collegiate Hockey League championship trophy following the 5-4 overtime victory over the Lindenwood Lions.

Connor Ferguson

No. 5 Cyclone Hockey will take to the ice Saturday in another regular season game, this time against No. 16 Midland.

However, for six seniors, it won’t be just any regular season game. This Saturday will be the last game they play at the Ames/ISU Ice Arena.

The class of seniors is the first that coach Jason Fairman has coached for each of their four years at Iowa State.

“I’m close to them,” Fairman said. “This will be a special class for me because [they have been] there from the beginning, when the coaching position changed.”

But this is not just any group of seniors.

“They were a big part [of how the program has grown],” Fairman said. “We did it together. They have a special place in my heart.”

When Fairman took over the program, the Cyclones had garnered some success in the national tournament but had not won any conference accolades in recent years.

“We definitely had a great program when I got here,” captain Chase Rey said. “But it’s gotten better every single year since. We’ve had better recruits [each season], and Cyclone Hockey is turning into a dominate program in the ACHA.”

Since arriving in Ames, Fairman has not only taken the program to the national championship but he also has not failed to reach the quarterfinals of the national tournament.

Not to mention, the group swept the Central States Collegiate Hockey League (CSCHL) championships. The Cyclones had not won the regular season championship or tournament title in over a decade.

“[This senior night] has significant meaning,” Fairman said. “That group came in together and we were able to win two meaningful championships with them.”

All of those accolades have involved the seniors who will play their last home game Saturday.

“It’s coming to a close,” Rey said. “I think I’m ready for that, but I’m not really sure yet. I guess we’ll see [how I’m doing] after all of it.”

The Cyclones will welcome Midland to Ames for just one, single senior send-off on Saturday. However, unlike the teams Cyclone Hockey has played on senior night in years past, the Warriors are no slouch.

“It’s important to stay sharp,” Fairman said. “It’s good to play good competition so you don’t pick up bad habits playing as the superior team.”

In the past, Fairman said Cyclone Hockey has played some junior teams where players would adjust to playing lesser competition.

With nationals coming up next week for both teams, trying to avoid injuries will come before winning.

“I think both coaches have concerns about guys getting injured,” Fairman said. “I imagine we’ll talk before the game about how we want to do that, but guys [still have to] play the game. There’s only so much coaches can do.”

But Fairman said he does not think either team is going to be looking to injure anyone because of the bigger prize they will be playing for next week.

“It [would be] nice to be able to go out on top [with a win],” Rey said. “But I think right now we have our sights set on something better.”