Hockey club ready for first season

Spinnaker

The Ospreys are leaving the air and hitting the ice, as the UNF hockey club prepares for its first season as a club team in fall 2009.

After trying to get the program started for a couple of years, hockey club President Jordan McKee and Vice President Joe Burke have finally made it a reality. They are looking at a solid team of about 15 players and hope of playing 15 games with the possibility of playoffs to start the year off.

It started a couple of years ago when a few guys in the dorms, McKee, Burke and  a few  others, attempted to build a hockey team on campus. But their efforts never showed any results.

After the 2009 spring club-bash, the team got the support and interest it needed to start planning practice times, jerseys and traveling schedule.

And now, the team is just looking for sponsors, said Mckee, a sophomore biology major.

“We need some sponsors because we need about $10,000 for Division III,” he said. “When we play at home, we have to pay for the ice time and the referees. When we play away, we have to pay our way to get there.”

To do this, the team is planning to work on selling ad space and having possible sponsors come out to watch its games and practices. The goal is to raise $1,000 from a few companies, McKee said.

This will be needed since the team will start playing Division III hockey through the American College Hockey Association, joining nearly every other college and university in the Southeast region, including Clemson University, Florida State University, University of Florida and Louisiana State University.

The team plans to practice with UF’s hockey club team at the Jacksonville rink Monday and Wednesday mornings. But UF is on its way to building its own rink soon and plans to stay out of UNF’s way.

“We practice at the Jacksonville Ice Rink, but are in the process of having our own rink in Gainesville,” UF hockey club President Ricky Bouchard said. “We are hoping to play UNF in a few exhibition games, but in the mean time we do our own thing.”

The Ospreys are expecting a quick start to their season in fall due to the fact that most of their players already know the game fairly well, McKee said.

“We are expecting to see around 30 players coming out to play for us,” Burke said. “With so many people interested, we might even have to have tryouts.”

To find out more information about the UNF Ice Hockey Club Team, visit unfhockey.com.

E-mail Heather Furey at [email protected]