(The goal of our Senior Send-Off articles is to highlight teams and student-athletes who did not get to finish their season of competition and/or have their respective Senior Day games/events happen. We also hope that these stories serve as a positive light to anyone who reads them during these trying times.)
BEVERLY, Mass. — The Endicott men's ice hockey team finished its 2019-20 season with a 22-5-0 overall record and a 16-2-0 conference mark before the NCAA's decision to cancel all remaining winter and spring championships was finalized. The Gulls also captured their second Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) championship, finished the year nationally ranked at No. 7 overall, and were set to host an NCAA Tournament First Round game before their season was canceled due to COVID-19. More importantly, the team's success was spearheaded by four seniors — Jason Kalinowski (Stamford, Conn.), Jacob Gammelgaard (Esbjerg, Denmark), Luke Rodgers (Clarkston, Mich.), James Winkler (York, Maine) — whose respective legacies will forever have an impact on the program. Here's what Endicott men's ice hockey head coach R.J. Tolan had to say about the entire senior class as a group and individually as well.
2019-20 Senior Class
"I feel forever connected and in debt to these four seniors, they've done nothing but make Endicott College, our hockey program, and my life better. The past four years have been an absolute pleasure and an honor to be a part of their lives."
"A little rough around the edges at first glance, but he had everyone fooled. In reality, he was highly intelligent, caring, tough, committed to his team, and loyal. There aren't enough words to describe my experience and love for Kal. Jason was the true heartbeat of both of our championship teams!"
"Jacob has given me one of the most rewarding relationships I've ever experienced as a coach. He persevered through a lot and got better every day all while seeing his self-confidence grow each day right in front of me! It was an awesome feeling to see him leading our team to it's second trip to the NCAA Tournament. I am so excited to see how successful he is in whatever he has a passion for including hockey, business, and/or life in general!"
"Luke has left an unforgettable mark on Endicott and me. In my mind, he has carried himself in the highest caliber a student-athlete could possibly achieve over four years. I consider him one of the best players, captains, coaches, and leaders our young program has ever seen."
"The nicest person I've ever coached, which is something that is not often associated with the best player on a college hockey team. I did nothing except say love you to James and please help the boys keep this going and he would always reply back with 'no problem, Coach and all set buddy.' He is a special person and player!"
(Photo Credit - David Le '10)