The Middlebury hockey tradition is as old as the game itself with club play dating back to the 1860s. In the 80-year history of the men’s varsity program, the Panthers have enjoyed tremendous successes. The team began to receive more national exposure and success in 1995 when it made its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament after a ban on NCAA play was lifted by the NESCAC. From that point, Middlebury earned a 302-46-20 (.848) record with 12-consecutive NCAA appearances (1995-2007), including an NCAA record five-straight titles from 1995-1999. Middlebury put together another string of national titles from 2004-2006, capturing three-consecutive crowns to run its total to eight. The Panthers have also won eight NESCAC Tournaments, hosting the event on six occasions.
During the cold winter months, Middlebury College hockey becomes the pulse of a spirited community. The attendance at games has nearly doubled since Middlebury moved into the state-of-the-art 2,600-seat Chip Kenyon ’85 Arena, with the Panthers hosting the NCAA Championship in 2005. Prior to the move, Middlebury was the proud host of the 1995 and 1997 NCAA Division III Semifinals and National Championship in a jam-packed Nelson Arena.
The team’s 24-game schedule combines a staple of NESCAC and regional teams, including the PrimeLink Great Northern Shootout over Thanksgiving weekend. A junior varsity hockey program with a full schedule of games and practices complements the varsity program.
STYLE OF PLAY
The Panthers are respected among Division III hockey coaches for their impressive puck movement and aggressive defense. Kenyon Arena’s exceptionally large ice surface not only encourages crisp passing and offensive creativity, it demands it! Teams accustomed to a physical, tight-checking brand of play are often caught off-guard by Middlebury’s fast-paced tempo.
Off-ice training focuses on helping players develop peak hockey performance. In the gym, Olympic lifting and functional strength training are used to develop core strength and explosive power. On the turf, sprints and plyometrics are used to develop linear and lateral speed. On the track, steady state and interval conditioning are used to develop aerobic and anaerobic energy systems.