Exceeding All Expectations: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Located just north of Downtown Atlanta lies Georgia Tech, Home to Georgia Tech Ice Hockey. While Atlanta itself might not have the best record with NHL hockey, Georgia Tech Ice Hockey made serious strides this past year, going from winning four games in 2016-17 to making it to the group stage of Nationals in 2017-18. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with the Team President and Goalie Caleb Rudnicki who took the time to tell me the history of the club and why he believes that the team was able to make it to nationals this year as well as the choices behind next season's uniforms.

GT vs USAFA. Photo courtesy of BC Photography
 Georgia Tech Hockey Started in 1973 and has had a season every year since, making the claim to be the longest, continuously running college hockey team in the southern United States. The team’s hay days were the 90’s and early 2000’s when they were headed by Greg Stathis, who the ACHA DIII Men's coach of the year award is named after. The team saw ranking at number one nationally and championships year after year. Lore has it that the crowds would get into around 1,000 people a game all because of what Coach Stathis built. Sadly, coach Greg Stathis passed away in 2008 but his passion and spirit lives on among the club, as proven by the club’s success this year.

GT vs CMU. Photo courtesy BC Photography
The team currently holds two practices a week, one on ice and one off ice, as well as other group activities throughout the week such as floorball (the Scandinavian version of street hockey), weightlifting, etc. he stated how crucial it is for his team to make the most of all the ice time they have at "The Ice". As Caleb told me “ The entire Atlanta area and it’s surrounds has only roughly 7 sheets of ice compared to places in the north that can have that much in a quarter of that area.” He did state that the benefit the team has about playing at "The Ice" is that they get to play there games earlier in the evening instead of the usual 9-11PM at night.

GT vs George Mason. photo courtesy of BC Photography
When I asked Caleb about what made the team successful and what it was like to play at the National Championships, he said "It's a combination of retaining the players and having a group of boys that work together." He also stated that after this season they plan to continue to build on the current success and hope to make it farther at the National Stage. As for going to National Championships, he was honest with me and said that the team exceeded the goal of making it to Regional championship this year and that getting to play Air Force, Central Michigan, and George Mason really helped the team get an idea of how much farther they need to improve if they plan to continue with there successes.

2018-19 jerseys. Provided by Rebirth Sports
When I saw that Georgia Tech had decided to go with new uniforms from Rebirth, I asked Caleb what the idea behind the designs were. His answer: Keep it simple, stupid. Georgia tech wanted to go for a simple but bold look on there jerseys and I think they did a pretty good job with that. The shoulder numbers on the navy jersey with the chest stripe and arm striping to match just looks beautiful with the Roundel logo they have on the front. As for the white jersey, the Diagonal "JACKETS" in gold lettering with the navy outline really makes the letters stand out with the simple striping and navy yoke to balance it all out perfectly. These jerseys are for sale until May 9th so CLICK HERE if you want to get your hands on one!

As the thoughts of going back to Nationals down in Dallas next year buzzes in the minds of the Georgia Tech hockey players, they'll be happy sending there days training away so they can keep the tradition of successful college hockey alive at Georgia Tech!
Exceeding All Expectations: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Reviewed by Steve Marc on April 19, 2018 Rating: 5

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