By Eliseé Browchuk
For Unwind magazine
Native of South River, New Jersey, Sean Rankin hasn’t missed a winter on the ice in 14 years. It only took one of his cousin’s hockey games at the age of 7 to get the 21-year-old hooked on his favorite sport and pastime: ice hockey.
Rankin is not only the backbone of the defensive line as goalie, but he is also a leader in the classroom as an aerospace engineer. If he’s not on the ice or in class, Rankin can be found at the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity house where he serves as an active member. Beyond Greek life, Rankin enjoys time on the slopes with the largest student run organization at UMD, Terpski.
From Fraternity Row to the Herbert Wells Ice Rink, Rankin manages to fit Coach Jim Gaudet’s competitive practice drills into his busy schedule.
“A huge thing for me is time management and organization,” said Rankin. “Do as many things as you can within reason.”
Rankin is currently spearheading a senior design project with his peers at the A. James Clark School of Engineering.
“Being on the ice is the best way to relax and get away from homework and everything,” Rankin said. “And being off the ice with my team allows me connect with an entirely different group of individuals.”
Reflecting on his time spent with the D2 team, Rankin’s fondest memories are not his game-winning saves, but simply spending time with the team.
“We come back a week early from winter break and we have practice during the day, but at night we get to hang out and really bond as team,” said Rankin.
After two seasons with the D2 team, Coach Gaudet believes in his players just as much as the game itself.
“My favorite part about coaching at UMD is the daily interactions with the players,” said Gaudet. “They come to the rink every day willing to work hard and improve.”
Hockey has been a staple in Gaudet’s life from college to his current position and said that he met most of his lifelong friends through hockey.
“It’s fun to see how the team here at UMD becomes really close friends with one another,” said Gaudet. “I played hockey in college too, and I know they will remain close friends with each other after graduation.”
Rankin’s key to success on the ice as a D2 student athlete is to give one hundred percent even when no one is watching. From training off the ice over the summer to spending extra hours on the ice, Rankin believes that hard work pays off.
Heading towards the middle of the season, the D2 team holds a 7-1-4 record. The team sits confidently with the recent release of the Southeastern Regional Hockey rankings listing Maryland in 11th place.
Up next, the team will take on the Who RU Owls from Rowan University at Herbert Wells Arena on Jan. 20.
Coach Gaudet’s favorite memory of Rankin was last season’s game at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). The team was hoping to seek revenge from a 4-1 loss to UMBC only a few weeks early, however multiple injuries forced key players to sit out, putting pressure on Rankin to hold the team together. Rankin’s outstanding saves in the third period of the game helped UMD hold their 3-2 lead until they sealed the win with an empty net goal in the last minute.
“It was a huge win for us,” said Gaudet. “If not for Sean’s performance in net, I don’t think we would have won that game.”
This may be Rankin’s last season as a Terrapin, but he still has high hopes to go out with a bang.
“We are still looking for a championship, maybe we will get that this year,” said Rankin.