From Montana Kaiman
By Caleb Brinton
The University of Montana club hockey team is back with more players for a second year after returning to the ice from a seven year hiatus in 2021.
“Last year was spectacular. And you know, we’re happy to have them out here and we’ll play hard for them if they want to be here,” centerman Owen Lee said.
The Griz sold out all but one home game last year and had to add extra seating to Glacier Ice Rink.
The club team is not new to the University with a rich history dating back to the 1970s. The team competes in division two of the American Collegiate Hockey Association, which spans a total of three divisions. That allows the Griz to maintain a highly competitive schedule with the potential to take a shot at a conference championship.
Co-head coach Mike Anderson has high expectations for the season with the influx of players and the fan turn out the team has been receiving at home. He said he aims to make regionals and see how far the team can go.
Despite losing six players from last year’s roster, the team has gained 15 new recruits from all over the country.
“We got a good team coming into this year,” said Eddy Lochridge, a second year forward. “We got a lot of kids on the team last year who are going to be moving down the depth chart and it’s just because we got a lot more talent coming in this year. Practices are very competitive. We go at it with each other and we’re fighting for ice time at this point.”
Since Griz hockey is not an NCAA recognized team, the players must pay to financially float the team. Each player’s dues, on average, are $3,500 for the season. According to grizhockey.com, the dues cover almost everything a player needs from jerseys, gloves, helmets and travel expenses. “This is because our leadership has been part of the ACHA and paid their own way while playing at Montana and understands the value of tight budgeting and not wasting money on frivolous things,” according to grizhockey.com.
The Griz are set to play 29 games, with 17 of those games being at home. The team opens against Idaho at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 30 at Glacier Ice Rink, followed by two games against Western Washington. Immediately after that the team takes on rival Montana State University.
Part of the Griz hockey allure is Breezer, Glacier Ice Rink’s resident cat. “She is just doing her thing, hanging, getting pets and dealing with any mice that pop up,” said director of Griz hockey Tucker Sargent.
(Originally published at http://www.montanakaimin.com/sports/griz-hockey-prepares-for-games-after-successful-first-year/article_1b6c3210-39f9-11ed-83af-9770ad87a741.html)