Roller hockey club sees opportunity to excel with new rink

first_imgIn 2017, Syracuse University’s club roller hockey team nearly vanished, and would’ve gone extinct without former captain Ryan Dunn’s leadership. But now, the team is developing more than its members ever could have imagined.Last season, the team qualified for nationals, but this year, it will be much better prepared. Previously, on-campus construction had made it difficult to practice regularly. Now, they’ll be able to practice at the rink in the new Barnes Center at The Arch, senior Anthony Bellman said. The new rink not only allows the team to have a home base, but also provides them with an advantage in recruiting new members.“We are really excited to have a rink that we can call ours,” junior roller hockey player Jamie Kreinces said in an email.Other teams have had an on-site roller rink to practice on, Bellman said, but for nearly two decades, SU’s teams have had to practice either in a basketball gym or travel to Black Mamba Skate Park, which is located in Shoppingtown Mall in DeWitt.This forced them to try to find transportation to practices and use a rink in the mall. It wasn’t the most conducive way to get the most of practice, said Marc Orlin, president and the team captain. The Arch gives the team a place to practice on-campus, and to potentially host other teams for scrimmages.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIn the past, it visited teams like Endicott and Oswego for scrimmages. The regular season, however, is comprised of away tournaments — for which the team traveled to Boston, Providence, Long Island, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia last year for three- or four-game tournaments.Eva Suppa | Digital Design EditorThe team hopes to have the same intense work ethic and resiliency that carried it to nationals last year, said Kreinces, who’s going on his third season with the team.“I think our success can be attributed to how well the team meshed together,” Kreinces said, adding that the growth of this team is metaphorical for how roller hockey is growing overall as a sport.With the new rink as a key chip in their recruiting pitch, SU added some talent to its roster in the offseason. Kreinces called the freshman class “the best in a long time.”“Somehow, we’ve managed to add a couple of more very skilled players this summer, and we’re looking forward to competing,” he said.And with the new rink comes optimism. Now that last season’s struggles to find places to practice are in hindsight and it can practice on a regular basis, SU will be prepared for the obstacles it encounters.Though last year’s roller hockey team qualified for nationals, SU went 0-4 once it got there. Bellman blamed the team’s postseason underachievement on the lack of a consistent practice facility and subsequent sub-par practices.But the club is only going to grow. The team culture has evolved over the past few years because of Dunn and the strong foundation he built, Bellman said, adding that he and his current teammates have been working to make sure it doesn’t near extinction again.And the Arch a major part of the club’s future.“The new rink is going to be a game-changer,” Kreinces said. “Being able to practice on-campus is a huge benefit to the team and will help us prepare for tournaments during the season.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 19, 2019 at 1:27 am [email protected]last_img