Roller Hockey: Snapshot of the SlapshotsSECRHL November 3rd, 2008 at 5:33AM November 3rd, 2008 5:40AM
Menâ€™s roller hockey is a largely unknown sport to student life on the universityâ€™s campus. The team was recently founded in 2006, but it took the men two years to get the team set up.
Over the past three years the team has greatly improved.
Practice for these â€œ12 stellar playersâ€, as stated by captain Jeff Kotcher, takes place at the Skateplex in Temple Terrace. The University of South Floridaâ€™s roller hockey team also practices in this same arena.
â€œWe really like the USF guys,â€ declared assistant captain Jon Halpern. â€œWe scrimmage them all the time.â€
The UT men are a Division II team who participate in the Southern Conference. Other institutions involved in this conference are South Florida, Miami, Florida State, and Florida Atlantic.
The first year the team was in competition they posted a dismal record of 4-13-2.
â€œThe first year was a struggle. We were thought of as a joke by many other organizations on campus,â€ Kotcher stated.
Following this disappointing performance in 2006, the menâ€™s team posted a more encouraging record of 6-9-1. Last year. UT received the at-large bid to travel to Colorado and compete at nationals.
The Cinderella story of the second-year-team was, however, shot down at the regional championship game, as the UT men were struck with a 6-4 loss, handed to them by Elon.
The men competed in their first of four tournaments with the Spartans putting on a dominating performance. Going a perfect 4-0 in the contest, UT overtook George Mason 12-0, dominated South Carolina 21-1, beat James Madison 9-1 and in the regional championship rematch overcame Elon 3-2.
The team, as a whole, spent approximately $15,000 last year on league entry fees, plane tickets, and hotel rooms. This total does not even include equipment, which also comes from the 12 playersâ€™ pockets.
Unfortunately, trouble with the airlines had the team borrowing other schoolâ€™s equipment after all of Tampaâ€™s gear was lost in between plane connections.
This year, however, Student Government has yet to fund the team any money, even after their appearance at Nationals.
This appearance was also the first time any UT Club Team had made it to Nationals.
The men will compete in their second of four tournaments on Nov. 15 and 16 in Fort Myers. Some teams expected to be in attendance are: FAU, USF, UM, UCF, and FIU.