Senior Greg Petersen was a captain and the men’s hockey team’s top defenseman this year.
He was not only counted on for his defensive play during his time at UW-Eau Claire, but also his offensive play and his leadership.
“The biggest thing on the list is his ability, he’s a good player,” coach Matt Loen said. “We’re going to miss his offensive ability . and his leadership, he’s one of our captains.”
Petersen’s college career did not begin at Eau Claire, however. He started out at Div. 1 Robert Morris University (Penn.).
Hockey was not fun at Robert Morris, Petersen said. That, along with the fact that he knew a few guys on the team at Eau Claire, led him to change the scenery.
“I learned to have fun while playing hockey again,” Petersen said. “At Robert Morris, it wasn’t that fun and I came here and it was just a blast playing here for three years.”
Not only did Petersen grow as a hockey player while at Eau Claire, but he said he also grew as a person.
“Going to school and playing hockey at the same time, it’s a tough job, it helps you grow,” Petersen said.
School has also been a positive experience while at Eau Claire, Petersen said. He is a kinesiology major and said that is another reason he chose to go to Eau Claire.
“Here at Eau Claire, I have nothing but good things to say about it,” Petersen said.
On the ice, Petersen was crucial to the team’s success, Loen said. He often logged the most minutes of all the defenseman. He played five on five situations, four on four situations, penalty kill and most importantly, he anchored the power-play, Loen said.
Petersen has meant a lot to the Blugold hockey program as a whole, Loen said, but his experience is probably what meant the most.
“If I was a young defenseman coming in this year I would have probably tried to follow Greg and what he did,” Loen said. “He did well academically, he’s a great kid off the ice, he works hard off the ice in the weight room, he puts it in his mind what he wants to accomplish and I think he has done that.”
Playing hockey has created at least a few memories for Petersen. But some have stuck out more than others.
Last year the team went up to UW-Superior for a first round playoff series and the Blugolds defeated the Yellowjackets in what was considered an upset. That was one memory he recalled.
The other one: “Playing in front of the fans at Hobbs, that was fun,” Petersen said.
Petersen has certainly earned the respect of other coaches and teams around the league as well. He earned first team All-NCHA honors three years in a row. He also tied for fourth on the team in scoring this season. He finished with five goals and 13 assists for a total of 18 points.
Loen said Petersen did not experience any major changes in his time at Eau Claire.
“I don’t think there was really any and that’s what’s nice, we know what we can expect from him,” Loen said. “He was a high-level player in his three years here, he was consistent, I think that’s the biggest point. We knew what we were going to get from Greg.”
Overall, Petersen had a positive experience at Eau Claire with school and also with the hockey team.
“Everything was pretty loose, that’s one of the best parts about playing hockey is just hanging out in the locker room with the guys,” Petersen said. “It was good, it was a good experience, it was a fun time, it’s probably something I’ll remember 20 years down the road.”