ISU roller hockey club gains momentum

Gabe Davis

The ISU roller hockey team will head to St. Louis this weekend to take on other competitors of the Collegiate Roller Hockey Association.

The team will start off the weekend against the University of Missouri at 11 a.m. on Saturday and then take on St. Charles Community College at 1 p.m. They’ll then have a break until Sunday at 9 a.m. when they face Missouri again.

The ISU roller hockey team is part of Iowa State’s sports club program and has only been around for three years.

“Our goal was just to start a team to play in the Collegiate Roller Hockey Division I,” said Zack Anderson, team captain, and club vice president. “We had some talent, but didn’t have enough depth to run Division I. This year, we have 10 guys that we can put out on the floor with confidence.”

The team has tournaments about every other weekend from September through the end of February, when the regional tournament takes place.

Going into this weekend, the team holds a record of 4-4-1 in the Great Plains League and 6-4-1 overall.

“I think we got a really good team,” team member Mike Sueker said. “We’re starting to learn each other’s plays more. We’re starting to come together as a team a lot more, and we play really good.”

The club has a an A-team and a B-team and each team plays in its own league. The teams practice Tuesday and Thursday in Des Moines and head to St. Louis on the weekends.

“Being that we get to spend seven hours together each way, it really helps us to come together,” Anderson said. “Everybody gets along pretty good.”

“Our biggest addition this year was the coach,” Anderson said. “Last year, I was in charge of the bench. It makes it a lot easier to get the right players on the floor with someone behind the bench. That’s what separates a lot of the college teams is that only about half of them have a coach.”

Anderson said the coach, Jim Allan, is really committed and has really improved the organization in the games and at the practices.

“We couldn’t ask, for a better volunteer coach,” he said.

The games are played on a rink that is just like an ice rink except that the surface is made up of small smooth plastic squares. The teams play with most of the same pieces of equipment that an ice hockey team would use with the exception of the shoulder pads.

“I use real soft wheels for the games, because they’re a lot grippier,” Sueker said. “Most of the team actually uses hockey skates with modified chassis on them.”

The games consist of 22- minute halves, and the teams skate with four men and a goalie on the surface.

Last year, the club placed sixth at Nationals in Division II, and this year with a larger roster, they’re hoping to do just as well in the top division.

Anderson said a lot of the good teams have former ice hockey players on their roster.

Since the club is partially funded by GSB, anyone is allowed to join, Anderson said.

“We have a lot of new guys right now, but we’re really starting to come together,” he said. “And we’re always looking for more talented players to fill out the team.”