The University of Iowa men’s hockey team played for the national club hockey championship for the first time ever in 2023 and was led by a Tippie accounting student who hadn’t stepped on the ice in years.
Ryan Brickhaus (BBA23) played hockey throughout his childhood in St. Louis but was plagued with shoulder injuries. After his third surgery as a senior in high school, he reluctantly stepped away from the game so he could heal.
When he came to the UI, Brickhaus focused on his accounting and finance classes at Tippie. He had no real intention of resuming his hockey career until he was a senior and overheard the student sitting behind him in Introduction to Marketing talk about upcoming team tryouts.
The student was Hawkeye goalie and Tippie student Justin Howard, and the more Brickhaus thought about trying out, the more he got the itch to play again.
“I didn’t want to regret not trying."
Despite his balky shoulder and years-long lack of on-ice activity, he made the team and was soon back to his old self on the blue line. At 6’1” and 200 pounds, he was the team’s muscle, a stay-at-home defenseman who kept opponents away from the net and made them think twice about going after that loose puck.
“My job was to knock guys on their butts,” he said.
After an 18-3-1 regular season, the Hawkeyes won the American College Hockey Association’s (ACHA) Division 2 Midwest regional to make it to the 16-team national tournament for the first time ever. They won a thrilling 2-1, double overtime epic over Indiana University in the semifinals. But the 4-hour plus marathon left little in the tank for the championship game just 12 hours later and they fell to the
University of Massachusetts, 4-0.
Brickhaus said it was a fun return to the game and he loved playing for a university that provided him with a great business education.
“I came to Iowa because Tippie is such a highly touted business school, and because I was looking for something new,” he said. “I wanted to be in a situation where I didn’t know a single person and see what I could accomplish.”
While accomplishing something that no Hawkeye had ever done before on the ice, he also took advantage of the university’s resources to start a career.
He started work in the audit division at KPMG’s St. Louis office in October 2023, will take his CPA exams in the next year, and just for kicks is taking classes to get his pilot’s license.