Rugby starts season with alumni weekend and hockey adds a second team

By Ed Rietveld

Men’s rugby ready to start season

After going 6-0 last year in regular season play and 1-1 in the playoffs, the NIU men’s rugby team is ready to start its 2011 season.

The Huskies return 12 of 15 players from last season, giving them a chance for another successful year.

NIU’s season will start off with games against the Chicago Area Rugby Football Union (CARFU). Those teams include UIC, Northwestern and Loyola.

Huskie rugby vice president Ryan Dertinger said they will play those three teams twice for a total of six games.

Besides their matchups against CARFU opponents, NIU will also play Notre Dame and Purdue.

Dertinger labeled the games as “friendlies,” which is a chance for the Huskies to show if they’re worthy enough to play at the Division I level.

The upgrade to DI would go into effect next season.

The club’s first big event of the season will be alumni weekend starting Aug. 27.

Dertinger said that it’s a way for the club to reconnect with current and former members of NIU.

“It’s exciting because it gives them a chance to come back and just see old friends and have fun,” Dertinger said.

Hockey adds second team

With an abundance of players, it seemed only fitting NIU men’s hockey team expand.

For the 2011-12 season, the Huskies will be adding a second club team.

“Instead of carrying 25 to 30 guys on one team, we can now carry 50 to 55 guys for two teams,” said NIU hockey general manager Ian Kalanges.

NIU’s primary team will play at the Division II club level, while the new team will play at the Division III level.

Kalanges said having two teams will create some challenges.

“There will be one weekend when both teams will be playing home games, which means that the DIII team will play their games in Rockford…instead of [the] normal [home locations] of West Dundee and Hoffman Estates,” Kalanges said.

Greg Chromy enters his second season as head coach of the DII team and John Lyne will handle the DIII squad.