Arcadia highlights men’s ice hockey standout from Namibia, hires new head coach Heickert

Max Finkeldey, a member of Arcadia University’s men’s ice hockey team and a Namibia native, was recently featured in the Spring 2024 edition of the university’s magazine.

Known around campus as “Fink”, the former member of the Namibian national inline hockey team came to the U.S. looking for a new challenge and an opportunity to continue his athletic career.

“I always like a good challenge, I’ve been that way all my life,” the 6’2″, 205 lb forward said. “Doing something where other people have a head start is definitely hard, but I just love it.”

Finkeldey was a teenager when he first started playing inline hockey. Already a standout in tennis, swimming, soccer, and volleyball, Finkeldey was ready to play inline hockey. Using his parents’ roller skates, he immediately fell in love with the sport. Soon, all of his time dedicated to other sports was overtaken by inline hockey. 

“I was practicing over two hours a day,” Finkeldey said. “Starting as a newcomer on a team where the guys had been playing for several years was a challenge, but a lot of fun.” 

Just a few years after beginning his inline hockey career in 2013, Finkeldey was invited to be part of the Namibia national team. 

Brian Sobel, a Philadelphia native who moved to Namibia to be the national team’s head coach, said Finkeldey’s talent was always there, but it was the work ethic that really caught his eye. 

“I met Max when I moved to Namibia in 2013 when he was 11 years old,” Sobel said. “He was a solid player back then in his age group but he had a great work ethic and continued to improve.”

Finkeldey worked his way up from being a reserve player in 2017 to traveling with the team the following year.

“Traveling overseas to play for your country is not something you can ever replicate,” he said. “It was just so much fun and I was really proud.”

Sobel said Finkeldey’s determination and work ethic led him to be placed into the starting lineup and, eventually, become one of the greatest players in the country, not to mention assistant captain.

“Through the years Max became one of the best players Namibia had ever produced,” Sobel said. “He was dominant in Namibia and a force at Worlds.

“The great thing about Max is that he stayed humble, always willing to help younger kids as they were coming up and always reaching out to new national players and helping to show them the ropes,” he added. “Max shows up and does the work – he asks questions and gives everything he has every practice and every game. You can’t really ask for more than that as a coach.”

For the full story, you can click here.

In related news, the university announced on Thursday, April 18 the hiring of Ryan Heickert as the new head men’s ice hockey coach.

Heickert will begin his duties at Arcadia on Monday, April 29.

“I want to thank Athletics Director Brian Granata, Associate AD Michael Hebenstreit and the rest of the search committee for selecting me as the new head coach for the men’s ice hockey program. I am grateful for their confidence in me to lead this program going forward,” Heickert said. “I feel incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to join the Arcadia Athletics team and work with such a talented group of coaches, athletic staff, and students.”

Heickert comes to Arcadia after most recently serving as the Head Coach at Bryn Athyn College for the past three seasons. Heickert oversaw all aspects of the Lions’ men’s ice hockey program, including coordinating team travel, scheduling of games and practices and recruiting. While at Bryn Athyn, he also served as the Short Term Sports Program Manager and the Assistant Director of the College’s Junge Pavilion. 

“Throughout our search process, Coach Heickert’s strong leadership and communication qualities stood out,” Granata said. “He is someone that can command a locker room and inspire student-athletes to achieve greatness. We are excited to see him mold our young program into a strong competitor within the Middle Atlantic Conference and Division III ice hockey.”

Prior to his time at Bryn Athyn, Heickert served as an Assistant Coach at Neumann University for three seasons. He also served as a Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Knights for five years. Heickert has also been a Strength Coach/Personal Trainer since 2010 at multiple fitness centers. 

“I’m excited to be a part of Arcadia’s hockey program with a front row seat as this program grows and develops its own identity in the world of NCAA hockey,” Heickert said. 

Heickert, an Oshawa, Ontario native played his college hockey at Neumann and was part of the Knights’ 2009 National Championship team. He graduated in 2009 with a degree in Athletic Training and obtained his Masters in Sports Management from Neumann in 2010. 

For more on Arcadia’s men’s ice hockey team, you can click here.

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Photos: Arcadia University