People fill up the stands, the Zamboni cleans the ice, the players leave the locker room, they hit the ice, fans go crazy, the puck drops, and the hard-hitting, cruel sport known as hockey starts.
For the next 60 minuets the athletes entertain fans with their flashy skating and smooth puck skills. These players &- the SDSU Club Hockey team &- practice three times a week and play two games on the weekend.
So why do it? Players do not get a scholarship, they practice late during the week and travel for games extensively.
“It’s been a part of my life since I was a little kid,” junior defenseman Ryan Sandberg said. “I play because I love the game.”
The Jacks have posted a 6-2 record to start off the season and are undefeated at home.
“It’s been a good start. We started off with four big wins at home but UNL was a struggle to play away from our home crowd and ice. It was nice though to end this last weekend at home and stay undefeated at home,” said captain Matt George on how the season has went at this point in their season.
SDSU also received nice crowds so far this season to watch them play, and George says that the team definitely appreciates the support.
“When we played the University of South Dakota Coyotes we had over 900 fans, and not only did they help us play above and beyond a normal game, but it was also nice to see the support for not only us but for the breast cancer fundraiser as well.”
The players have a total of 14 games left in its season before regionals. Sandberg said the team doesn’t miss a lot of school while they are on the road.
“Only when we have away games, in which they just take away from our weekend since we travel and go to different cities,” Sandberg said.
The team is making statements early that they belong, with back-to-back wins last weekend against the University of Minnesota-Crookston. On Nov. 5, down 2-1 with less then three minutes left, Joel Davidson received a pass from James Haynes and put the puck into the net, sending the game into overtime. Davidson would score the game-winner in overtime, 3-2.
“We want to finish off this semester and then come back next semester healthy to finish our season hard. Our biggest goal of the season though is to reach regionals again for the third year in a row and fight to get to nationals, then win nationals,” George said.