The Student Voice of Coastal Carolina University



Chants hockey succeeds without home ice

How they handle the two-hour drive
Alli Monaco
Coastal Carolina defends the puck.

The Coastal Carolina University men’s club ice hockey team has been dominant, despite the fact they don’t have a rink to call home on campus. 


The team now plays at The Carolina Ice Palace in North Charleston, South Carolina, which is roughly 88 miles from Conway. This is the team’s first season in the arena after calling Wilmington Ice House in North Carolina home throughout prior seasons, a 68-mile drive. 


Sophomore defenseman Jamie Tobin said he is still getting used to the new arena. 


“The team has adapted well to playing in our new arena, it’s not much different from last year. I’d say the locker rooms are nicer but it gets a bit confusing because sometimes we don’t know what locker room we’re supposed to be in,” Tobin said. 


The team has notched four championships over the past five seasons, including three consecutive titles while competing in the Atlantic Coast Conference Hockey League (ACCHL). The Chanticleers defended their dynasty from their rival Liberty University Flames 5-4 in overtime during last year’s championship thriller.  


The players are faced with challenges due to the lack of ice time, causing the team to resort to more unconventional styles of practice. The team meets for off-ice workouts weekly, and occasionally practices at the roller rink at The Market Common to work on strategies and coverages.  


Coach Grant Williams credits some of the challenges as to why the team has remained successful.  


“We see ourselves as the underdog even though we have won. We take our challenges as a badge of honor. It’s easy to play for a team that’s got everything: the rink on campus, the big giant facilities, all the bells and whistles, it’s easy,” Williams said. “I know that the guys on the team are all in and I don’t ever have to second guess that.”  


However, Williams believes the lack of ice time is somewhat advantageous to his team.  


“I think that other teams may think they have a competitive advantage over us, but I think they overwork themselves. They get tired as the year drags on. The main thing that counts is winning the [ACC M2 Premier AAU] Championship,” Williams said. 


Travel is something many student athletes manage, but the CCU men’s ice hockey team not only has to travel for away games, but home games as well. This additional travel is cause for concern in relation to academics and time management. 


Sophomore goalie James Amorelli noted this is an obstacle but that the team is able to stay on top of it. 


“It’s definitely challenging,” Amorelli said. “We gotta get our stuff done at the beginning of the week.” 


Without having somewhere nearby to call home, there is a lack of home ice advantage. The crowds consist of mostly parents and can range from about 20 to 40 people on average, according to the players who talked to The Chanticleer. 


Sophomore defenseman Kenny McKenzie said it’s difficult visiting other schools and seeing the crowds they draw in, while lacking support on home ice.  


Williams is urging students to support the team at 1 p.m. on Feb. 10, 2024, when Coastal takes on the Liberty Flames in a highly anticipated championship rematch at the Carolina Ice Palace. 


There will be a student bus to this game. More information regarding the bus will be available at as the game approaches. 

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