Sac State hockey team makes playoffs

Joe Fleming

Lack of funding is just one of the setbacks the Sacramento State Ice Hockey Club has endured this season.

The regular season came to an end on Saturday at Skatetown in Roseville. With a playoff berth on the line, the Hornets defeated the Broncos of Santa Clara University 12-7. With the win, the team clinched first place in the Pacific Collegiate Hockey Association North Division with an overall record of 11-6.

Team members credit a majority of their success to the support they receive from fans.

“These games are really exciting,” said team president and forward Joe Gordon. “We love the support from our fans. If it wasn’t for them it wouldn’t be worth playing.”

The club struggled to make rent payments for the Skatetown rink in what the team’s coach Jeff Harper called a “controversial” money shortage from the Sac State Sports Club. The team received close to half of the funding it expected to get from the Sports Club program. Money was a constant issue for the hockey team since it is one of the three most costly sports clubs on campus, according to the team. The team spent $24,000 this season just for reserving the ice rink at Skatetown. That amount does not include other expenditures like equipment or traveling.

With all the expenses it requires, Gordon said it is a higher level of commitment required to be on a team such as this one.

“We are self-administered, self-funded and self-run,” Gordon said. “(The players) realize that they need to take their dedication to the next level.”

The players are also obligated to spend $1,300 up front or $1,500 over a payment plan in order to play on the team. The financial woes first struck the team during this season when it had to cancel a trip to Southern California where it was scheduled to play San Diego State and UC San Diego.

But despite the financial setbacks early on in the season, the team was able to prevent the same thing from happening to its final game of the season.

Gordon said the team is going to prevent this from happening again in the future. He claimed the team is exploring many options for funding sources for next season. Some of the possibilities mentioned were obtaining sponsors, fundraising and doing a car wash.

Being able to come back and play again next year is something all the players want, not just for themselves, but also for the many fans that attended throughout the season.

The players want people to come out and watch them play.

“Get out here for sure,” said captain Brian Cowell. “It’s a good, fun time and it’s cheap.”

Along with playing hard for the fans, having the opportunity to wear the green and gold is something that Gordon takes to heart.

“The greatest feeling of being on the ice is representing Sac State,” he said.

The Hornets will be in action for the first playoff game at 9:45 a.m. on Saturday in Fresno.

Joe Fleming can be reached at jfleming@statehornet.com