North Texas Daily

UNT club ice hockey staying optimistic despite difficult season

UNT club ice hockey staying optimistic despite difficult season

The UNT Ice Hockey practices in hopes of getting a few wins under their belt with the remaining games in the season. The team was under a one-year suspension, issued in Fall 2015, that was lifted in Fall 2016. Their current record for the season is 1-17.

UNT club ice hockey staying optimistic despite difficult season
January 24
23:45 2017

Samantha Morrow | Staff Writer 

It’s been one year since the suspension that grounded the UNT club ice hockey team. In that time, the team has gotten back on the ice and tried to overcome the struggles of a probation violation.

But things have not been easy.

In their first season since the punishment, the team has had trouble both on and off the ice. Struggles filling the roster, paying dues — and even putting wins on the board — have loomed over what has been a tumultuous campaign.

“[When] the season started, most of us didn’t know how the suspension [would affect us],” finance junior Bradley Harley said. “But we went in trying to be our best and do the best that we could.”

As the season winds down, UNT has managed just one win in 18 games for a 1-17 mark. They went 11 games without a win and are currently on an eight-game losing skid.

Despite this, the team is clinging to the hopes of making the postseason.

For that to happen, the Mean Green will need to knock off Texas Christian University this weekend, and get a little help. The Horned Frogs must also lose the remainder of their games for North Texas to participate in playoff hockey.

“The best word I can use to describe this season is rough,” advertising junior Jake Martinez said. “The biggest effect the suspension had on the team is it killed morale. Most of the guys are finding it hard to find the spark to move forward.”

To add to their troubles, the Mean Green found some weeks they barely had enough players suited up. When the season began, there were weeks North Texas only had nine players. Since there are six players on the ice at a time, that left only three reserves on the bench.

The team was under a one-year suspension, issued in Fall 2015, that was lifted in Fall 2016. Their current record for the season is 1-17. Sara Carpenter

In the NHL, there are typically four separate lines of five players, meaning there are around 20 players on the roster and 15 on the bench at any given time.

With practices that went late into the evening, gaining new players became a difficult task.

“In hockey, you cannot be effective with only nine players,” biology sophomore Michael Kolbus said. “It’s just not going to happen. There were several weekends in a row we played three game a weekend with a small roster.”

As the losses continue to mount, there are not many changes the team can make personnel-wise. With a depleted roster, North Texas has been forced to play the guys they have — even if they are continually losing.

When the losses pile up on top of each other changes are normally to follow; however, when the roster is not full and guys are defeated it becomes complicated to be effective on the ice during games.

“No athlete wants to be 1-17,” Kolbus said. “Yes, our record is not where we want it to be. It only gets harder the [longer we] go without a win.”

Going into what could be their final games of the 2016 season, North Texas must buckle down and find its spark if they hope to make it to the postseason.

With a roller coaster year nearly completed, the team is trying to stay resolute. And with a few key victories — plus a little luck in the coming days — the Mean Green could have a chance to turn their season around with a playoff berth.

“Our record does not define the kind of team we are [or] our skill level,” Harley said. “Personally I feel as if we have been playing well. I know we are still a good team.”

Featured Image: The UNT Ice Hockey practices in hopes of getting a few wins under their belt with the remaining games in the season. Sara Carpenter

About Author

Reece Waddell

Reece Waddell

Reece Waddell was the Editor-in-Chief of the North Texas Daily from May 2017 to December 2017. He previously served as the Sports Editor and Senior Sports Writer. Reece also worked at The Dallas Morning News and WFAA-TV.

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