Despite access to their own practice and game hockey rink, the Sam Houston State club inline hockey team prepares for their upcoming season.
Stationed in the Woodlands, the Bearkats compete against various Texas universities including Texas Tech University, University of North Texas and the University of Texas at Austin.
The team is composed of 10 players including former SHSU inline hockey player and head coach Mickey Phillips.
Phillips said he wanted to keep with the club team because of the success he has seen with the program since his involvement as a player. He said he wanted to get more organization with the team and continue to expand his hockey experience with the younger players.
“I’m hoping to win division II and move onto the nationals,” Phillips said. “We have a pretty solid chance of doing this, but we need to buckle down and represent the school.”
Inline hockey differs from ice hockey as the match is played on wood flooring rather than the ice rink traditional hockey uses.
Senior Captain Mason Bakken said he has deep hockey roots growing up in the Dallas area and supporting the Dallas Stars. His main goal for this season is to advance to the nationals, sponsored by the National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association held at Fort Myers, Fla.
SHSU remains a division II within the Southwest Collegiate Hockey League, a sub-league within the National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association. Other SHCL programs include Stephen F. Austin University and Oklahoma State University.
In 2009, the Bearkats advanced to the finals with Phillips and Bakken as active players in the program.
Second-year player Aaron Fletcher said he is excited to face more prominent schools and that their biggest and most exciting match is against the Lumberjacks.
Team manager and SHSU student Stevie Hall said she has managed promotions and advertising, as well as, being the number one cheerleader for the team.
“It’s a weird passion of mine,” Hall said. “I grew up cheering for football all my life. Hockey is very appealing to me.”
The Bearkats began practices in early September with a regional conference tournament in October to kick off their season.
Those interested in participating with the SHSU inline hockey squad,can email Bakken at firstname.lastname@example.org,or contact team president Austin Fritz at 903-746-2441.