North Texas Daily

Hockey team’s accomplished season ends due to monetary short comings

Hockey team’s accomplished season ends due to monetary short comings

February 28
14:55 2018

The ice hockey team at North Texas finished their regular season with a 20-8 record, good enough to make the playoffs. The team eventually qualified for the regional round until their run was cut short, but not by another team.

The team was unable to play in the game because they did not have the money to afford the trip to Utah.

“It was kind of expensive [to go to regionals],” senior defender and team president Daniel Schulman said. “It was snowy heading there, so we didn’t want to drive because that’s kind of dangerous. We had a certain amount of time to get all this money together, and as soon as we won we had two weeks to get the money. We started a GoFundMe and things like that, but we didn’t have time to get all the money.”

Schulman also expressed missing regionals came as a loss of exposure for the players.

“If we could have played at regionals there would have definitely been some scouts there. In Texas, regular season games don’t get that much attention.”

The monetary challenge the team faced to end their season was just the tip of the spear in terms of problems for the team despite having a successful year. Junior defender Michael Misantonis knows first hand the issues with a club team having to travel frequently, especially a team without a plethora of money to spend.

“It’s hard to get the full team out on longer trips, for instance, like El Paso,” Misantonis said. “It’s kind of hard for guys to come, especially during test days. We would have missed 2-3 days of class. The school helps in certain circumstances depending on how far it is, [but] we get a tax.”

While the difficulties of expenses made it a struggle to continuously put the same team on the ice week after week, it is not a new issue for them. It is one they have come to accept.

“Last year we didn’t have that many people on the team, and we had to fight just to keep the program alive,” Schulman said. “ Some games we had eight people, and we traveled to Texas Tech only bringing six. So we had Tech’s backup goalie play forward for us.”

The predicament of playing a sport seriously but not being on scholarship and missing class for days at a time is the base of the problems all competitive club teams face. And it is no different for this team.

“We didn’t travel very well,” head coach Ronnie Kennedy said. “It’s a tough thing when you’re doing a club sport. It is supported by the school, but is it really fully supported by the school? When you have the situation of traveling to El Paso and possibly missing 2 days of class, it sucks.”

However, none of this needs to take away from the season the team had. They finished their season winning their final nine games in the second semester and had gained momentum throughout the season.

“The mindset going into the season was, let’s make this one better than last year,” Kennedy said. “We had very low numbers the year before, so right from the get go we knew we would have a lot more players [this season]. We did well last year with not that many [players], so I said,  ‘Let’s see what we can do with a bigger team; let’s build on what we started.’”

The team had the leading scorer in the nation in senior forward Andrew Keane who finished with 37 goals. He also finished seventh in the nation in total points with 72 from 37 goals and 35 assists.

While the team had a few standout performers, leading to their improved season, Kennedy was also impressed by the team chemistry shared between the players this season.

“We were just able to find players that [work together],” Kennedy said. “I don’t want to say instant chemistry, but they were just able to work with each other extremely well. You could see it in practice on certain drills. It also helps that a lot of these players are from Dallas and knew each other prior to joining the team.”

As a team, the numbers may always be in question, but they won’t allow that to stop them going forward. It is just another hurdle they had to get over to reach their potential this past season.

“Going in, you always expect to be competitive,” Misantonis said. “You don’t really know how many new guys come out, so you have to kind of play it by ear a little bit until the first game. Right after we figured out the full squad, expectations were pretty high for the rest of the season.”

Misantonis also mentioned injuries as being the final obstacle for the team to overcome.

While the season did not end on the terms they were hoping for, the team remains proud of their accomplishments and looks forward to continue the success moving forward.

“You hope it just builds,” Kennedy said. “You hope that people see what we have here works. I hate to boil it all down to winning, but that’s what’s going to get people to come here.”

Featured Image: Courtesy. North Texas Ice Hockey.

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Stefan Washington

Stefan Washington

UNT Advertising Major| NT Daily sports writer

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