Two weekends ago, the 4th annual Mayor’s Cup took place at the Times Union Center in Albany. While Union did not prove victorious on the ice in human hockey, it took home a different, more progressive title along with bragging rights over the RPI “Engineers”.
Under the supervision of Ronald Bucinell, Union College Mechanical Engineering professor, the adrenaline spurring sport of Robo Hockey is played by students who remotely control wheeled ice machines. These robots are designed to tear across the ice at breakneck speeds, in an effort to push a hockey puck into the net before the other team does.
The history of the Union- RPI Robo Hockey rivalry is a short one, but the Dutchmen came into the Mayor’s cup as undefeated all time Robo Hockey champs with a record of 2-0.
The heroes of Union College at the Mayor’s Cup were the men at the helm of the Robo controls, John Ozirski ’18 and Zak Sayah ’18. Before the game took place, they shared the pressures and honors that come with being the leaders of the Union Robo Hockey team.
“I’m not nervous, I’m smooth as silk,” Ozirski said while we waited for the bus to arrive. I had my doubts; there was incredible pressure and expectations built up for the game.
Sayah pointed out how Union could possibly beat RPI at their own game and namesake of Engineering: with signature bravado.
“That’s what makes us better engineers, because we’re confident in what we do.” Game time was approaching, and these words of confidence would hold true for Sayah.
“I feel honored to be walking out the same entrance as the Zamboni,” Sayah added as he took his place on center ice. The stadium was tense as the Robo Hockey game was about to begin; Ozirski’s face was solemn and red with the magnitude of the impending deeds on the ice.
Out of the gates they ripped, both sides skillfully handling the pucks. After a loop around the ice, the home stretch was in sight and Union’s Sayah had a lead on the closest RPI opponent. His machine stumbled and the crowd held its collective breath, but it was rightfully steered and eventually clawed into paydirt: Union had won. Albany boomed.
The final score of the ice hockey game was not in Union’s favor, but students and supporters of Old Union can rest easy knowing that we have the supreme Robo Hockey team in the area. With an all time undefeated record, the Union College Robo Hockey team will continue to make innovations and advancements in an effort to never lose to RPI.