Q&A With Rhode Island Hockey Radio Broadcaster Jack O’Marra
As part of our ongoing coverage of the 2017-18 Liberty Men’s Hockey season, we spoke with Jack O’Marra this week. Jack broadcasts hockey games for University of Rhode Island, and has been around the team for several years. The #25 Rams find themselves in 7th place overall in the ESCHL heading into the weekend, with a 1-2 conference record. This weekend’s games start at 7pm Friday night, and 4pm on Saturday. The #15 Flames will look to improve on their 5-1 conference record. Both games will be streamed live (audio only) on www.wriu.org, or 90.3 FM if you find yourself in Kingston, RI. We would like to thank Jack for his time and telling us more about Rhode Island Hockey!
Duke Cuneo: Tell us a little about yourself, and what your relationship with University of Rhode Island hockey is.
Jack O’Marra: My name is Jack O’Marra, I am a junior at URI and I am the Assistant GM at our student run radio station 90.3 FM WRIU and I have been broadcasting URI hockey for 3 seasons now on our station.
Duke Cuneo: URI is coming off its second straight 5th place result in the ESCHL. What are the expectations surrounding the team this season?
Jack O’Marra: The expectations are always high with URI hockey as they are one of the most successful athletic programs at URI. The last couple of seasons have been good, but the top teams of the ESCHL have had URI’s number. Coach Joe Augustine has instilled a winning mentality at URI for 29 seasons now and he won’t rest until they are back on top.
Duke Cuneo: Who are the top 3 players Liberty fans should expect to make an impact for URI, and what do they bring to the team?
Jack O’Marra: URI has a variety of guys who can be dangerous. The biggest is co-captain senior Mike Pesola. He has size, strength and is a natural point producer for the team. Also, Filip Akermark, junior defensemen from Stockholm Sweden. He’s a great puck handler and has developed an ability to score goals. He is a top pair D-man who is a great leader for this squad. Lastly, is starting goaltender JT Ketzenberger. The sophomore split time last year in the cage but this year has soldified himself in the starting role. Ketz has shown great potential, 4-2-1 on the year with a 2.25 GAA.
Duke Cuneo: There seems to be a lot of chatter, even a twitter account, calling for URI to move to NCAA D1 hockey. Is that something that is likely to happen in the relatively near future? Or just chatter?
Jack O’Marra: The move from Club to NCAA D-I has been chatter for quite awhile. Augustine is completely behind it, the students are behind it, but it hasn’t made any significant noise since I have been at the school. For now, the idea is talk, but we haven’t seen any progress.
Duke Cuneo: What sort of crowds should LU players expect this weekend?
Jack O’Marra: The crowds this weekend will be interesting to predict. This season attendance has been relatively good through 4 home games, and this weekend is homecoming and family weekend at URI, so after the football game we could see a lot come down to the game, or the festivities will overpower the game. My hope is the former, my prediction is about 350 per game.
Duke Cuneo: Tell us a little bit about the rink URI plays in.
Jack O’Marra: URI plays in the Boss Ice Arena. It is a premier venue that seats 2,500 and is home to not only URI Men’s and Women’s Club Hockey teams but also intramurals, local youth programs and high school teams. The venue offers a skate shop, rentals and a Subway.
Duke Cuneo: What would you say URI hockey’s identity is at this point in the season?
Jack O’Marra: URI’s identity is and has been a team that likes to shoot. They have 370 shots for this season and with a large volume in shot totals, generally comes with large goal total. Defensively the group has had difficulty out of their zone, but progress is being made. As of lately the team has lost several players to injury including leading goal scorer and points leader, Jonathon Alsfeld, who is out for what looks to be long-term. The team has faced a lot of adversity early in this season with a tough schedule and the injury bug, but URI hockey has been known to be a tough out, and I would say this year is no different.
Duke Cuneo: What are your score predictions for the weekend?
Jack O’Marra: I believe that URI and Liberty will split the series, URI game 1 5-4, Liberty game 2: 6-3.
Thanks again to Jack O’Marra! We look forward to some great hockey this weekend.