UNF Hockey puts their second season on ice

Spinnaker

By Rob Moccio


The UNF ice hockey team is looking to kick off their second season with little recognition.

You read that right — UNF has an ice hockey team, and the season starts Sept. 17 versus Embry-Riddle.

About two years ago, 10 UNF student hockey enthusiasts got together and envisioned a Florida campus where they’d be able to play ice hockey. From there, UNF has ventured into a new era and hasn’t looked back.

“Last year, the goal was to step it up and create a winning season. It happened. This year, a new goal was set: to join the ACHA. Joining the American College Hockey Association would bring new opportunities in teams we could compete with,” said assistant coach Hans King.

The UNF Hockey Team submitted an application to the ACHA, and UNF was accepted — though the team will be under probation this year, he said.

Excited for the road ahead, the team is in the early stages of putting together the right players that fit the criteria of first-year Head Coach Dan Pszenyczny.

“I’m looking forward to my first year behind the bench as the coach. It’s a new challenge for me in a game that I’ve played for most of my life,” Pszenyczny said. “I’m looking to have a team that everyone can relate to when coming to watch the games. A hardworking, hard hitting team that does whatever it takes to win a game; a blue collar team, a competitive team.”

Pszenyczny hopes to bring UNF a northern-style atmosphere of college hockey, with a big, loud student section doing chants and the pep-band playing during the game.

Nick Tice, a former player on the team, is gearing up for the start of the new season in his new position as team president.

“Even though I’m not playing this year, I’m glad to still be part of the team. I felt that I’m part of putting this team on the map. I do this for the love of the game,” Tice said.

The team’s biggest challenge is getting sponsors and fans. Hockey isn’t a cheap sport, but the speed of a game on ice could keep an audience riveted.

“The most enjoyment I get out of the season is seeing the success of the team and players,” King said. “They have worked hard, and will work hard under the coaches’ leadership, and seeing them succeed is a win for me and a win for UNF.”

The UNF Ice Hockey games are played at the Jacksonville Ice & Sportsplex at 3605 Phillips Hwy.

Pull out box:

If any player, boy or girl, is interested in playing UNF ice hockey, they are having their first practice Sept. 1 at 9:30 p.m. at the Jacksonville Ice & Sportsplex. They’re still looking to fill spots, and practices will be held every Tuesday and Thursday night at the same location. Visit unficehockey.com for additional information.