IOWA CITY — With ground broken for a new ice rink in Coralville, the talk has been renewed about the University of Iowa eventually getting a hockey team.
The thing is it already has one. Two, actually.
The Hawkeyes club men’s and women’s teams have kicked off their seasons: the men are 1-0-2, the women 1-0.
Iowa’s men’s club team is a Division II programs (there are three divisions), and competes in the American Collegiate Hockey Association. The women play in the Women’s Central Hockey League and hope to join the ACHA “in the next year or two.”
Among the many schools in the ACHA are Iowa State, Indiana, Duke, Brigham Young, UCLA and Texas A&M.
Head coach Kevin Brooks has lofty goals for the men’s program. He is back in charge after a two-year absence, spending five years previously as coach.
“My plan is go to D-I once we have the rink because you have to be able to sell 500 seats,” Brooks said.
Iowa plays its home games at the Coral Ridge Mall rink. There are 42 players on the roster, including a pair of kids from Cedar Rapids in defensemen Jeff Stack and Ethan Welch.
Forward Ian McKay is from Iowa City and defenseman Trevor Katz from Waterloo. The rest of the squad is comprised of kids mostly from Minnesota and suburban Chicago.
Brooks is responsible for recruiting, just as with any varsity sport. He said the new rink should be a boon with that.
Players pay to get in the club, though sponsors and donors are numerous and help defray costs. And pay Brooks a salary for his work.
“We have a lot of donors,” he said. “I’ve been hitting the pavement. We have been very, very blessed to have some people come through for us. Then we have former players that have gone on to become very successful and have helped us.”
Check out pointstreaksites.com/view/iowahawkeyesmen for more information on Hawkeyes hockey. The next home game is Saturday, Oct. 13, against Iowa State.
Iowa athletics officials continually have said varsity men’s and women’s hockey program plans are not in the near future. It’ll remain at club sport at the school, with Brooks wanting it to be a successful one.
“I wanted to come back with the new rink and make a run at it,” he said. “See what we can really do.”
For information on the women’s team, check out http://ladyicehawks2013.wixsite.com/ladyicehawks. The club has been in existence since 2013 and has four Iowans in Kate Edwards (Iowa City), Avery Stricker (Mason City) and Arleen and Sylvia Salazar (Alton).
The coach is Joe Barnett.
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