OXFORD, Ohio – While the events of Family Weekend revolve primarily around Miami football, the weekend itself is a valued opportunity to bring all families together to experience the campus environment together.
Alex Wideman and Chris Wideman represent some of those family bonds from the Miami hockey team. The two played together during the 2011-12 season, Chris’ senior campaign and Alex’s freshman one. Alex is preparing for his senior season this fall while Chris is finishing his degree while keeping himself in playing shape for the upcoming professional season in the Ottawa Senators’ organization. Their sister, Demi, also attends Miami and played one season for the field hockey team.
MURedHawks.com sat down with both to chat about their Family Weekend memories. This year’s Family Weekend revolves around the Oct. 25 football game against Kent State. The hockey team is also at home that weekend, playing host to St. Lawrence for a two-game series that runs Oct. 24-25. Hockey ticket sale information will be available in September.
MURedHawks.com: First off, what does family mean to the two of you?
Chris Wideman: For us, we have a very close family. It’s special to share memories here at Miami. It was great to play with Alex for a year and see our sister, Demi, also come here. It’s fun for me to come back and share memories from when I was here and compare them to what they are going through now.
Alex Wideman: Adding on to that, our parents come here to visit all the time to support us. They brought us up to be close and that bond has gotten even tighter here at Miami. Even if our parents didn’t make it to Oxford, they find a way to follow our games online.
MU: How did Miami cultivate a family atmosphere?
Chris: For me, the recruiting process revealed that early. I felt Miami was a place that I fit the best, it had that atmosphere in the program with the coaches and players. When Alex had a chance to join us after being around the program for a few years while I was here, it was a no brainer. Now he’s doing that for new kids.
Alex: I got to experience the whole thing at a younger age. I was coming here when I was 16 watching Chris as a freshman. Kids my age wanted to see college hockey games and I got to see him in the locker room after games, which was great.
MU: How has Miami developed you as people?
Chris: This is a program that strides to build better players and people. I went through a lot as an 18-year old freshman. I grew from there and matured each year. Playing professionally now, I find myself making fewer mistakes than others who didn’t play in college, I guess I got them out of the way here and deal with them. Now I can focus on what I need to do to be successful.
Alex: I took a year off after graduating high school, so at the beginning I was behind the eight ball as far as time management was concerned. We get a lot of help from the staff on that front. Coach Nick Petraglia is great with that and Lynaye Stone helped a lot from academics to get me ready to handle myself here.
MU: Any moments that stand out from your time here?
Alex: I can remember one of the first games I played here against Bemidji State. We were playing together on the power play. I fed him a pass and he took a slap shot and scored to tie the game. I jumped into his arms to celebrate and that was pretty cool. I always remembered going to dinner with the family after games, especially after wins.
Chris: The Frozen Four appearances were great, we won a lot of big games during the four years I was here. I got to play with a lot of good players. That play that Alex describes was very meaningful to me as well. Someone captured that with a picture and it was a special moment for the both of us with our parents and sister in the stands watching. Helping him along as much as I could, even being a bit hard on him, will be something I’ll cherish for a long time.
MU: What has Family Weekend meant to the two of you?
Chris: It’s always been a fun weekend because we were usually playing at home. Having our parents there was always special, but this was a chance to meet your friend’s parents. Everyone is excited and the campus is always buzzing. There were always great crowds and everyone would be loud. We had to have a great record that weekend. We were always fired up.
Alex: That was exactly what I was going to say. The atmosphere around town is great. Everyone is just pumped up to watch some football and hockey.