By Samantha Thompson
We’ve got courts for basketball, pools for swimming, and fields for soccer. But where’s the sheet of ice for UC Santa Cruz’s hockey players?
Third-year student Andre Garbo took it upon himself to form his own ice hockey club so that he, along with any others who wished to join, could continue playing the sport he has been a part of since he was a kid.
"There are not a lot of athletics at this school, but I found that there are a lot of people who played hockey or still do play," Garbo said. "Now we have formulated into a small community of people who want to play."
During fall quarter, Garbo posted flyers around campus informing people of his intentions of starting the club. Responses were immediate and a roster of over 30 potential players has already been put together as e-mails continue to come in. Fourth-year student Dmitry Kirshon, who runs the intramural floor hockey league on campus and has been playing for three years, has shown interest in the club.
"I have never played ice hockey because I have never been given the opportunity to do so," Kirshon said. "Ice rinks are scarce in northern California and it is also a very expensive sport to participate in."
Expense is one of the biggest obstacles the new club will have to face. Because the team wasn’t a club last year, it missed a chance at receiving funds from Measure 23, which passed last spring giving more money to intramural and club sports teams.
Along with the cost of equipment for skates, pads, sticks, and gloves are the fees for ice times — $325 an hour, plus the gas for transportation to the nearest rink, Logitech Ice in San Jose. Despite these difficulties facing the developing club, morale, both on the team and within the club sports office, is still high.
"After their first meeting, people were still very enthused and still wanting to do it," said director of intramural and club sports Kevin "Skippy" Givens.
The team hopes that another referendum will pass this spring in order to bring more financial support to the group.
Givens said the team could benefit from a new referendum as long as they "show a high level of organization and plan on having a long history here. We need to see a sense of permanence."
The specifics of team rosters and ice times are still being worked out as Garbo continues to communicate with prospective players and the rink. The team would potentially play schools with club hockey teams already in place, such as Stanford, Berkeley, San Jose State, and UC Davis. Garbo is anticipating a schedule and the start of practices by February.
There are still some hurdles to get over in the process of creating the team, but Garbo seems positive about being able to get this project rolling and happy to be connecting people with this common interest.
"If you start something up," Garbo said, "it will begin snowballing and will eventually get itself going."