Regardless of long-time success, roller hockey club may go extinct

By BRYAN FEILER
On December 31, 1969

Nine regional championship game appearances - including five straight in Division I - four regional championships, four national final four appearances and an alumnus on the United States National Team. All in 13 years.

These are the accomplishments of the most successful club you probably never knew existed at UB. The roller hockey club entered the National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association's Eastern Region as a Division II club team in 1999. The club grew to include a Division I and a B team.

The paramount of the club's success came from 2008-10, when the club won four regional championships and sent three teams to the national final four. Since then, there has been a decline in the amount of players showing up to play.

During the 2010-11 season, the B team was unable to finish the season because players stopped showing up. The following year, the club went without a B team.

This season, the club lists 12 players on the travel roster but some can't commit to every weekend, which could lead to the team folding.

I don't understand why.

Buffalo is a hockey town. I grew up on Long Island and spent the last four years at UB and loved what I saw: a place where students were passionate about hockey and played the game I love so much.

UB has the talent pool to compete at the national level every year. I couldn't walk through the halls without seeing guys wearing their high school hockey jacket or sweatshirt. I understand there is an ice hockey team and some guys play there. But that squad can only suit up 20 guys per game.

Let me give you a rundown of the club, of which I was a member until I graduated this past year. The Student Association helps it with funding, and it is the best hockey deal in town. The athletes practice once a week, which usually includes a high-pace scrimmage. Our coaches are alumni who make sure the players are doing everything right and at the same time make sure they are having fun.

And they do have fun. What is better than going away for the weekend to play some hockey with, in my opinion, some of the best friends you'll meet here?

I'm well aware there is a stigma that roller hockey is noncontact and isn't a real sport. But the team has had guys who played serious junior ice hockey come play because they wanted to relax on the weekend while still playing competitive hockey.

There are almost 200 teams from all over the country. They don't play in a parking lot with a ball. They play up to 35 games in a puck league, with real refs and a great staff that keeps the league legitimate.

Playing roller hockey was probably the best decision I made during my time at UB. I still consider myself a part of the team even though I will be playing with another team while I attend graduate school.

So lace 'em up; don't let one of the successful clubs at UB die.

Contact smrabent@buffalo.edu if you want more information about the club.

 

Email: sports@ubspectrum.com

 

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