Founded one year ago by three guys who just wanted to play, Chapman University’s roller hockey team has taken off. The Panthers currently field a team which competes around the state against other collegiate teams.I knew a couple of other guys who played in high school, and we started the roller hockey club to see if there was some people who wanted to get together and play hockey,” said sophomore Reed Kaufman.”We were surprised when, at the first meeting, 15 people showed up and we knew there was a lot of interest on campus.”Following that initial meeting, the team quickly established itself in a regional league called the Collegiate Roller Hockey League, which features teams from California and Nevada, hailing from such schools as Orange Coast College, the University of California at Irvine and the University of California at Santa Barbara.”We found out about the western division of the Collegiate League and we got a team together and did well for such a small program,” said Kaufman.Currently the club is fielding two teams. One competes in the league. The other competes in adult hockey leagues at the Anaheim Hockey Club.But while the club has been a success in the initial phases, the development of the program is going to be a challenge, according to its founders.Attempts to acquire monies from Associated Students has been a problem, because funding will only be given to clubs able to host on campus events.But because of the nature of the sport and the fact that there are no on-campus facilities for a hockey team, the club has no opportunities to host an event.Despite money problems, the team is taking measures it hopes will give it more exposure, and in doing so garner more support. One of the team’s goals is to convince the university to offer physical education credit for participating on the team.”Having a set time for a class to practice will be huge in getting people serious and committed to practice,” said sophomore Justin French. “Receiving credits will also help us get more people with experience to participate in the club.”A long term goal is to be recognized as a school-sponsored club much like the men’s lacrosse team. However, to do so would require them to find solutions to a few problems first.”Title IX is a big road block because the school would have to start a women’s sport also,” said French.French also believes having a coach would also be a boon for the team, providing both stability and organization.Another obstacle roller hockey must overcome is the grueling tournament schedule Collegiate Roller Hockey League has designed. “The league is structured so that you play four games over a weekend tournament,” said Kaufman. “If you are having a bad day it’s going to be tough.Unfortunately, Chapman’s roller hockey team has suffered a few bad days. This year, the club has gotten off to a rocky start, posting a 3-8-1 record.In their last tournament on Nov. 9, the team beat University of California Santa Barbara, lost to Orange Coast College and UCI. They tied California State Polytechnic Institute of Pomona.Team members say the club is not only for experienced players. Anyone with interested in the sport regardless of their level of previous experience is invited to join the team.”There is a huge following out here in California and anyone is welcome to come play for us,” said Kaufman.
Founded one year ago by three guys who just wanted to play, Chapman University’s roller hockey team has taken off. The Panthers currently field a team which competes around the state against other collegiate teams.