As the University of Alabama club hockey team continues to grow, one of its best players has earned a prestigious honor.
Pierre Ouellette, a sophomore from Dieppe, New Brunswick, Canada, earned third-team All-America honors from the American Collegiate Hockey Association, which governs non-varsity hockey programs at colleges and universities.
Ouellette is the program’s first All-American since moving up to Division I.
“Winning this award is a huge honor for myself as a player and also for the hockey program here at the University of Alabama,” Ouellette said via email. “Being the first player to win the award in the Division 1 era is something that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I want to continue to help this program grow for the remainder of my time here at Alabama.”
Ouellette led Alabama in power-play points and was third in points and goals.
He led the nation in points by a defenseman, with 43. He contributed to an Alabama team that led the nation in scoring with 147 points.
Taylor Joseph, a sophomore from Aurora, Ontario, was Ouellette’s teammate and roommate last year at Oswego State in New York, a top-five NCAA Division III program. Joseph committing to Alabama played a huge part in why Ouellette came to UA.
Club president James Benedetto, a sophomore, believes both players adjusted well.
“It made my life easy,” Benedetto said. “I just gave them the puck and they helped me out. For me, it was such a pleasure to play with Pierre the whole entire season. Taylor Joseph is the same exact way. How they carry themselves on and off the ice is great for our program, trying to represent the university the best we can.”
Ouellette, Benedetto and Joseph are among 11 players who were sophomores last season.
“It’s really good it worked out that way, that the biggest core group of guys are sophomores and rising juniors and will be here another two years,” said coach John Bierchen. “So, they know the way we are trying to approach every aspect of our program.”
Bierchen, who led the Frozen Tide to 19 wins in his first season, is the first former UA player to return as a head coach.
He credited Ouellette with taking pressure off his teammates with his steady performances and calm demeanor in the locker room.
With no home arena on campus, the Frozen Tide plays its home games at the Pelham Civic Complex. That has been the program’s home since its club inception, in 2005.
Ouellette is hungry for more for the upcoming season.
“Next year, I plan to work just as hard on and off the ice,” Ouellette said. “I want to show some leadership to the returning guys and the new players coming in. I am coming in next year to win a national championship and nothing else.”