The George Mason University club ice hockey team plays their first game against Radford University at the Prince William Ice Center on Oct. 14. Photo by Matt Ricciardi

Fall has arrived and it’s starting to show. Leaves are changing colors, there is a chill in the air and sports fanatics are dusting off their team colors.

It is one of the most exciting times of the year in the sports industry: Football is kicking off, baseball is wrapping up, and the hockey season is set to be in full swing.

Though George Mason University does not participate in all of these sports at the Division I level, the Patriots are, in some capacity, involved in all three of these sports. But what many students aren’t aware of is the Mason ice hockey club team.

The team has been around since the ’90s but hasn’t received much attention since its founding.

“Most of the Mason community doesn’t know that we even exist,” said Ernest Capasso, the team’s general manager. “So we would just like for people to learn about the team and come out and see a game or two.”

The team has some exciting games taking place throughout the fall semester including their first home game at the Prince William Ice Center on Oct. 14 against Radford University.

They will also be matched against some highly respected schools throughout the season such as the University of Virginia, Virginia Military Institute and the University of Maryland.

Interestingly enough, though, their biggest rival is Northern Virginia Community College.

“Our rival would be NOVA, as many of the local kids know each other on both teams and the fans know each other too,” said team president Dom Liberatore. “The atmosphere for those is different than most.”

As most hockey fans know, the atmosphere is electric. The NHL provides fans with an up-close view of a particularly violent sport in which fighting is not only allowed, it is encouraged.

In the collegiate game, there are rules that forbid that sort of glass-pounding type of fighting, but the occasional body slam is permitted.
The team will be providing giveaways for attendees at their first home game in Prince William and have planned to provide fans with a different type of treat on Nov. 12.

They will be playing the USA Warriors, a league of wounded military veterans that will be playing to raise funds for the Fisher House that helps the families of soldiers at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.