Texas Tech hockey team building connections, growth in recognition

From The Daily Toreador

By Arianna Flores


The Texas Tech Hockey team is a club sport that many are starting to get recognized on campus.

The student-led team was established in 1999 and is part of the American Collegiate Hockey Association, according to the team’s Facebook page. With 18 players, three coaches and three managers, the team’s members all stick together on the ice.

President of the team, Steven McNamara, said he started playing hockey at around age 5 in New York and moved to Texas. He continued to play in high school but did not know Tech had a hockey team.

“So, (this is) a great opportunity to continue playing, like when I got to Tech, I had no plans of playing hockey and then I found out we had a team,” McNamara said. “And I was kind of just psyched that I could still play again, because I thought I was done after high school.”

The team travels to Amarillo for practice once a week along with games. McNamara said the team schedules things out so members can still focus on school work and succeed despite the late-night drives.

Vice President Zach Banko said being in West Texas with no ice is not the easiest, but because the players put in effort, the team gives back to them.

“We face a lot of adversity, especially being a West Texas hockey player,” Banko said. “You just have to give the team the most amount of effort you can at the time and we’ll pay you back, like we’ll do anything for you.”

The team’s presence on campus became known after the Texas Tech Chicks and Barstool Texas Tech Instagram pages reposted the team’s photo and encouraged their followers to travel to Amarillo to see the first game of the season.

The captain of the hockey team, Dylan Madden, said he had asked past leaders if the team would ever be acknowledged but was told it would never happen, a miracle. Once his roommate showed him the post, he saw the impossible.

“(My) heart, like, flew out of my chest,” Madden said. “That was just so shocking just because I had — I heard, like, ‘Oh, that’ll never happen,’ and look what happened.”

After these posts, McNamara said he heard people say at the bars, ‘Did you know Tech has a hockey team?’ and as a leader, he enjoys his team being acknowledged.

“The whole time we have been in the background,” McNamara said. “People go, ‘Oh we have a hockey team?’ and forget about it.”

With the spotlight on them during the weekend of Friday, Nov. 12, the team traveled to the closest ice in Amarillo and played Western Colorado. There, the hockey team defeated its opponents 11-2 in game one and 8-2 in game two.

With the new attention from around campus, Madden said seeing fans come out and support them on the ice helps provide the team with the best game experience, along with feeling great as a team.

“It’s just like, it feels good to, like, to gain recognition for, like, the work we put in,” Banko said.

The three players said they wish to continue teaching the rookies and build the team to become stronger so future players who join the team can grow.

“We still want to leave a good impression and have something for you know the younger kids and people that are still coming to Tech have something for them to build off of,” Madden said. “One of the goals is to have ice in Lubbock and have an ice rink back here again.”

(Originally published at http://www.dailytoreador.com/lavida/hockey-team-building-connections-grow-in-recognition/article_b00c9c9e-488b-11ec-9e10-ab98d62bbd91.html)