North Texas Daily

Inline hockey club overcomes teammate’s death to capture title

Inline hockey club overcomes teammate’s death to capture title

March 19
22:28 2013

Tim Cato / Senior Staff Writer

The trophy might not look any different than the previous three years, but as the UNT inline hockey club won its fourth-straight Southwest Collegiate Hockey League championship, it knew this one was dedicated in honor of teammate Jordan Baker.

Baker, who had played with the club since 2010, was an entrepreneurship senior who died in a car accident on Jan. 19.  Accounting junior John Paul Kellogg, an assistant captain who plays defense for the club, didn’t believe the news at first.

“I was at breakfast with my grandma and I thought it was some kind of joke,” Kellogg said. “It was 8:30 in the morning when I got the text and I just couldn’t believe it, honestly. Speechless.”

Logistics senior Allen Foss, a close friend of Baker, was the president of the club as a junior but had planned on sitting out this year to focus on school.

“I jumped right back in just to help them out,” Foss said. “I couldn’t stay away.”

UNT beat Texas Tech 4-0 in Denton on March 3 and was named champions of the SCHL – a four-team league that also includes Sam Houston State University, the University of Texas and Texas Tech University.

It was the sixth championship in the past seven years for the hockey club. Kellogg, a Denton resident, said he decided to attend UNT because of its strong program.

“From growing up watching North Texas’ inline team, I know I wanted to play hockey for them,” he said. “That’s why I came here: to play hockey.”

The primary difference between inline hockey and ice hockey is that the game is played on a Sport Court surface – a court made of plastic tiles – with inline roller blades rather than ice and ice skates. Inline hockey has five players on the court, one less than ice hockey, and tends to be more fast-paced.

“It’s more of a plastic puck than an ice puck,” Foss said. “There’s no hitting or checking, it’s just a lot faster paced and a lot more mobility on there. It’s a completely different game than ice [hockey].”

Brett Burgess is the father of one of the players on the team. After being introduced to the sport years ago, he immediately loved it and now attends almost every UNT game.

“A lot of people don’t even know it exists,” Burgess said. “Once they see a game, they’re very shocked at what it’s all about.”

The SCHL is affiliated with the National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association along with more than forty other collegiate inline hockey clubs. It hosts a national tournament and UNT was one of the 24 clubs invited to compete.

The club players will travel to Fort Meyers, Fla., to play in the NCRHA tournament on April 10-14, trying to win in memory of their teammate and friend.

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