North Texas Daily

UNT club hockey back on the ice following suspension

UNT club hockey back on the ice following suspension

North Texas forward Brett Oland gathers the puck in during a practice at the Irving Dr Pepper StarCenter. Dylan Nadwodny

UNT club hockey back on the ice following suspension
October 12
16:16 2016

In the fall of 2015, the UNT club ice hockey team was grounded by Rec Sports following a probation violation. Originally, the suspension was slated for an entire year, but after an appeal, the team had it reduced to Jan. 1, 2016.

The team was suspended after the former club president failed to file paper work before a scrimmage, according to assistant coach Nick Henderson.

Following the suspension, there was miscommunication about the process of refunding students their money who had paid in full at the beginning of the season.

“When we got suspended, our dues got cut,” Henderson said. “But there were guys that paid their dues fully upfront. Once the season was over, they got their money back.”

Henderson is determined to not make the same mistake twice.

“It’s not an easy club to run,” Henderson said. “Even with the three or four guys we have put in charge now. We started a new conference and we have to get all the logistics taken care of and paper work for that as well so it is a lot.”

Garrett Nall was the club president when the suspension was handed down last fall, and assistant coach Kevin Speicher said he had a flaw that proved to be costly.

“The last president just tried to do everything himself,” assistant coach Kevin Speicher added. “He never asked for any help.”

Both Henderson and Speicher will enroll at UNT in the spring, so they are unable to play for the club until then. Since they are not currently UNT students, they are also not seen in the eyes of Rec Sports as the president and vice president. To counter the problem, the duo run the team as coaches.

One of the main struggles both men agree on is funding. The club set up a GoFundMe account about two weeks ago and set a goal of $5,000. As of Wednesday afternoon, the club has raised $1,450.

The account is set to close Friday.

“We had a budget allocation presentation for Rec Sports,” Henderson said. “They give us money each year and when we did our budget for the entire season we included the individual cost of player gear, driving out here, ice time, everything. Overall, what this team costs out of pocket is about $65,000.”

Aside from ice hockey, Henderson said most expensive club sport at UNT is lacrosse. The difference, Henderson said, is lacrosse practices on a campus field whereas hockey must travel 35 minutes twice a week to practice on ice.

The team also has two games almost every weekend. When everything is tallied together, ice time and referees cost nearly $1,600. Since Rec Sports cannot cover the entire budget necessary to keep the club operational, costs like these usually come out of pocket.

Speicher said the team is still feeling the effects of the suspension, even though it has been almost a year since.

North Texas hockey goalie Bill Johndrow sets up in the butterfly position to save a shot during a practice at the Irving Dr Pepper StarCenter. Dylan Nadwodny

North Texas hockey goalie Bill Johndrow sets up in the butterfly position to save a shot during a practice at the Irving Dr Pepper StarCenter. Dylan Nadwodny

Though they started last season with 18 players on the roster, many quit after the suspension was handed down. There were people that showed up to this season’s tryouts but have yet to show they are fully committed to the team.

“There are tons of people that go to UNT that play hockey,” Speicher said. “But none of them want to come out because they don’t think we’re a legitimate program because of the suspension I guess.”

Finance junior and team captain Bradley Harley said he believes the recruiting process has been the biggest obstacle for the club this year. A full roster for a game is 22 players, and UNT started the season with only eight – which presented a major problem.

“We have been fighting hard to find players to grow our team,” Harley said. “This year we’ve been really focused on recruiting and making sure we have everything in line. Now that we have the [suspension done with], we feel like finding hockey players at UNT should be easier.”

Although UNT has joined a new conference just created this season, the club has failed to produce a single win so far.

The new conference UNT joined is the Texas Collegiate Hockey Conference that includes eight teams split into two divisions: north and south. The north division is made up of Texas Tech University, Texas Christian University, Dallas Baptist University and UNT. The south division includes the University of Texas at Austin and at El Paso, Texas State University and Texas A&M University.

While all three men agree they are looking to finish out the season with hopes to making it to the playoffs in the spring, some just wish they received more recognition on campus for who they are and what they do.

“Some people look at going to school here to play hockey,” Speicher said. “But they see we got suspended so they choose somewhere else.”

Featured Image: North Texas forward Brett Oland gathers the puck in during a practice at the Irving Dr Pepper StarCenter. Dylan Nadwodny

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Courtney Anderson

Courtney Anderson

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