Careers of three Cyclone Hockey seniors wind down

Careers of three Cyclone Hockey seniors wind down

Austin Anderson

The first time the Cyclone Hockey team got together before the 2012-13 season was in the Lied Recreation Center for fitness testing.

Nine players were in the freshman class and they were placed into groups based on alphabetical order. That was the first time Cory Sellers and Alex Stephens met.

Carpooling to practices and eating at Seasons Dining Center ensued for the remainder of freshman year with the two both living in the Maple, Willow, Larch dorms.

After road trips to Arizona, knocking off the No.1 team in the country, sledding for the first time in Sellers’ life and roughly three and a half years later, Sellers and Stephens are the only two left from their original freshman class.

“It goes by so fast,” Sellers said.

Over the weekend, the Cyclones played two games against junior hockey opponent Springfield Express. But the game was never about the Express, a team the Cyclones swept 7-0 and 5-1 on Friday and Saturday night, respectively.

This weekend was entirely about honoring Sellers, Stephens and Jake Bruhn, who transferred to Iowa State after his freshman year. The three seniors have combined to don the cardinal and gold Cyclone Hockey jerseys more than 200 times over the last few seasons.

Over the weekend, the Cyclones wore different alternate jerseys for their final home stand of the season. Maybe it was because the team wanted to switch it up and have a slick new look, or maybe it was because the signature home white No. 14, No. 4 and No. 27 uniforms were being honored on the glass of the north east side of the ice.

The seniors’ jerseys being honorary retirees for the night was just the start of the celebration.

After the first period, the Cyclones stayed on the bench instead of heading back to the locker room to witness the ceremony recognizing the senior trio.

After the Cyclone Hockey pep band’s graduating seniors were recognized, Bruhn, Sellers and Stephens were brought out with their families.

All three were announced as having the best year of their Cyclone Hockey careers. Sellers and Stephens are back-to-back American Collegiate Hockey Association All-Academic performers.

What wasn’t announced, however, was the twenty years of life given to a sport as demanding as hockey. Nothing was mentioned of the independence it takes to live in multiple different cities on your own before you can even legally drink a beer.

Having to be a leader on a team led statistically by young and talented freshmen who are stepping foot on a college campus for the first time cannot be put into a boxscore.

“I didn’t win Coach of the Year because I’m such a great coach,” Fairman said. “I won Coach of the Year because we had 13 rookies that were new to our program and we played pretty well. I give credit to the seniors for that.”

On Friday, Central States Collegiate Hockey League Rookie of the Year Tony Uglem had a hat trick. Uglem and fellow freshmen Colton Kramer and Aaron Azevedo led the Cyclones in scoring this season and are likely the key to continuing success moving forward this season and beyond.

The seniors didn’t have the most goals or assists this season but their impact was made beyond the scoreboard. Uglem’s locker sits in the corner of the locker room, right next to Sellers and Stephens.

“It’s just little things in the locker room,” Uglem said. “They’re just great leaders.”

The team gathered around for pictures after the celebration concluded. Sellers and Stephens grabbed roommate Chase Rey, a junior, for a picture of the three of them. Rey said that’s when it hit him that his two best friends would be done playing in front of the crowd at the Ames/ISU Ice Arena.

“All I really had for them is ‘don’t forget about me,’” Rey said. “I think I had some tears in my eyes after we took that picture out there.”

Sellers will be moving on to grad school in October down in his home state of Florida to pursue his career as a chiropractor after a great career in Ames.

“It’s been the greatest four years of my life,” Sellers said.

Stephens will stick around in Ames for the summer working an internship before likely moving back to his hometown of Seattle.

Bruhn has one year left of school in Ames, which he said will be nice to be able to focus on school in his last year as a Cyclone.

“It’ll be sad, and I’ll miss hockey,” Bruhn said. “Hopefully it’ll be better with a [championship] ring on my finger.”

There was a lot of celebration, but there is still more hockey to be played. Next weekend the team will travel to Bensenville, Ill., to play in the ACHA tournament in hopes of winning a national championship. It was an emotional night, but the seniors didn’t get too caught up in it.

“I’m waiting to cry tears of joy when we win it all,” Stephens said.