Club inline hockey team wins Division II national title game
Published: Monday, May 6, 2013
Updated: Monday, May 6, 2013 01:05
UCCS Inline Hockey Club won the Division II title at the 2013 National Collegiate Roller Hockey Championships on April 14.
The final win came in an overtime goal in game seven against Northeastern University, ending with a 3-2 final score.
“I was on the floor for the goal, and my friend was right there too,” said team captain and club president Taylor Gebhart. “We threw our gloves, and the other 12 players came running over. We all stood and just had the biggest celebration.”
The national championship lasted seven days with one game a day. The victor was decided through round robin-style brackets with single and double elimination rounds. UCCS had a championship result of six wins and one loss.
“We only lost one in the round robin, and it was a close game,” Gebhart said.
Gebhart, a junior geography major, founded the club three years ago. All three years, the club earned a trip to nationals by winning the regional championship. This trip to nationals was the team’s second. Last year, the team was eliminated in the first round.
“I think the improvement came from more experience and better players. Everyone was committed to personal and team success. It has been a family effort. Most of us have been together from the very beginning. Some have even been playing together since middle school,” Gebhart said.
The team, which practices once a week at CET Arena, works with Bill Mulhern, the head coach, and Mark Gebhart, the assistant coach and Taylor’s father.
To raise funds for the trip to the national championship, the club had promotions at Chik-Fil-A and Top That Pizza. The club also hosted iron man tournaments at its arena, which brought in $3,000.
The club receives about $1,500 a year from SGA and the Rec Center, Taylor Gebhart estimated. With the national title, the players hope to increase their funding.
“Inline equipment is expensive. My skates costs $800, and sticks are about $200,” Gebhart said.
The team is also eying moving up to Division I in the coming season.
“Now that we've proven ourselves, moving up is a possibility. We played Colorado State University last year, and they are a Division I team,” Gebhart said.
The team is also looking to expand membership as it moves forward. Most of the 14 current players are sophomores and juniors, while two are graduate students.
“We have more and more younger kids interested in playing. Freshmen and incoming freshmen. Also transfer students,” Gebhart said. “Last semester, we had a transfer student from Albuquerque and one from Metro.”
The club begins player recruitment in August, around the time of the Club Fair. Open tryouts are held, and those interested in joining can follow the club at facebook.com/uccsinlinehockey.
In the meantime, the players are looking forward to the delivery of their prize and enjoying their post-victory celebrations.
“We won a gigantic trophy, but it has to be shipped back because it was too big to carry with us. It hasn't hit me yet. We've never had this many comments on our page, and I've never gotten this many congratulations,” Gebhart added.
“The club has far more recognition than ever before. There are people in my classes and at the Rec Center that I don't even talk to congratulating me. There is so much sentimental value. This is definitely the biggest accomplishment of my life.”