Hawkeye hockey team playing in regional tournament

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Yes, the University of Iowa has a men's hockey team. Two of them, as a matter of fact, with one of them qualifying for postseason play.

That puts them one up on the football team.

The Hawkeyes Division III club hockey team is playing this weekend in an American Collegiate Hockey Association regional tournament in Springfield, Ill. The team's opener is Friday night against College of the Canyons (Calif.).

Iowa hopes to make it to the D-III national tournament in mid-March in Springfield, Mo. This is the second consecutive year the Hawks have qualified for ACHA Division III regionals.

"This is the first year we've actually recruited for our team," said head coach Kevin Brooks. "That was one of the things when we came in there and talked to the president of the club and stuff, we told him we wanted to run it the right way. They put it into the budget. I've been to Chicago, been out to Massachusetts to recruit kids. The head coach of our D-II team went out to a showcase in Las Vegas. We've got a kid coming in from Texas next year.

"But you have to. Club hockey is becoming so big, especially at the Division I level. I mean, you've got kids transferring out of (regular) Division I hockey programs to play D-I club."

Club sports are not sponsored by their respective schools nor affiliated with the NCAA, of course. They have to raise their own money for equipment, travel, etc.

Players don't get scholarships, obviously, and are just students who usually played a particular sport in high school and want to continue playing. There are three levels of club college hockey, with Division III the lowest.

Iowa also has a D-II team. Iowa State has had a strong club hockey program for years, including a team at the Division I level.

"I have a lot of kids on my team who have a double-major," Brooks said. "And they're still playing hockey, which is pretty impressive."

Brooks played junior hockey for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders and was a scholarship collegiate player before having to retire from the sport because of repeated concussions. He is director of youth hockey at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena as well.

His assistant coaches are Kory Catlett and Chad Horner of Cedar Rapids. Horner is a forner head coach of the RoughRiders' high-school hockey team and there are three former Riders on this team: Alex Wisnousky, Cody Palmer and Sam Kacena.

Wisnousky is the team's goaltender. Twelve of the 19 players on the roster are from the Chicago suburbs.

The team took a 20-9 record into regional play.


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