College basketball’s NCAA Final Four has taken over Minnesota, and Monday night time, we’ll realize which of the four groups – Michigan State, Texas Tech, Auburn, and Virginia – may be crowned countrywide champion. Millions throughout us will tune in to see who reigns ideal. But here at Puck Drop headquarters, we have an essential question: How are their hockey teams? As it seems, all 4 of those Final Four hoops groups have hockey programs in one form or another. We’ll start with the obvious. Michigan State has a rich hockey history. The Spartans received national championships in 1966, 1986 and 2007, and feature eleven Frozen Fours among their 27 NCAA tournament appearances. Lately, even though, Michigan State hasn’t reached those heights. The Spartans remaining played within the NCAA event in 2012, losing gained a conference ordinary-season championship in 2000-01 (in the CCHA) and have finished last inside the Big Ten in the past three seasons.
On the opposite give up of the spectrum is Texas Tech, a club software in American Collegiate Hockey Association’s Division II. Formed in 1999, the membership gets no financial assistance from the faculty and plays as an independent, supported via dues and alumni. “Most Texas groups play in the TCHC [Texas Collegiate Hockey Conference], but we’re impartial as it’s cheaper for us to do that proper now,’’ stated Jon Farias, president of the membership. Tech’s combatants encompass Texas, TCU, SMU, Dallas Baptist, and New Mexico. Puck Drop If Minnesota hockey is your electricity play, sign on for the Puck Drop publication and look ahead to it for your inbox several instances per week.
The biggest assignment for Tech’s club crew is ice time. Since there are no rinks in Lubbock, Tech’s players need to shuttle about 140 miles south to Odessa’s Ector County Coliseum, domestic of the North American Hockey League’s Odessa Jackalopes, a Tier II junior team.
“The different [Texas] groups have support by using the schools and in reality get to play at home rinks,’’ said Farias, a local Californian and a switch from Texas State.
Tech took its lumps as an independent, this season going zero-6 while gambling maximum video games with the most effective eight gamers on its roster before gaining reinforcements later. “The subject turned into eight Strong,’’ Farias stated. “… To see the team come from eight gamers to a complete roster within the season offers me the self-belief that next season the crew might be extraordinary.’’
Farias sees former club groups like Penn State and Arizona State making successful transitions to NCAA Division I, and he can’t help however dream. “That’s the aim, to make this a properly-hooked up the program,’’ he said. Go east and a piece north 1,500 miles from Lubbock, and you’ll find Virginia’s membership team, which performs in ACHA Division II and is a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference Hockey League. The team had a domestic in Charlottesville at the Main Street Arena, but that constructing was demolished before the season after being offered for redevelopment. Virginia now travels between 55 and sixty-five miles to arenas in Short Pump, Va., and Richmond for its practices and video games.
Virginia had a hit season, completing second to North Carolina State inside the ACCHL tournament and advancing to the ACHA Division II Southeast Regional for the primary time. It lost 13-4 to Ohio State’s membership group.
If you tour southwest approximately 620 miles from Charlottesville, you’ll discover Auburn’s club team, which performs on the ACHA Division III stage. Like Texas Tech and Virginia, Auburn doesn’t have its very own area. Players need to drive forty-five minutes to the Columbus, Ga., Civic Center, which changed into domestic of the now-defunct Columbus Cottonmouths of the Southern Professional Hockey League. Auburn competed in the South Eastern Collegiate Hockey Conference and finished fourth in the league event this 12 months. Its main opponents, membership President Chandler Brown stated, are Tennessee and Georgia. Auburn also plays Alabama, that’s an ACHA Division I club team, in a fundraising game.
“It turned into a quite suitable year,’’ Brown said. “We have been the No. 6 seed in the [SECHC] event and dissatisfied the No. Three seed.’’ Auburn didn’t have the roster problems that Texas Tech did this year. “We generally don’t cut all and sundry. However, we do carry scratches, so this 12 months we had been rostered at 25,’’ Brown said. The club has had a handful of Minnesotans over the last few years, Brown said, and one, Frank Maslow of Cambridge, become a backup goalie this season. For the maximum part, Auburn draws gamers from the Atlanta, Birmingham, and Nashville regions.
Maslow, who played years of varsity and three hundred and sixty-five days of JV at Cambridge-Isanti High School, vacationed in Alabama with his family while developing up. He chose Auburn because of the campus’ small-metropolis experience. He sees the club opposition as a step up from what he faced in his excessive school days.
“Naturally, it’s going to have better skills with the older players,’’ he stated. “And when we play teams like Alabama who’re trying to come to be a real [NCAA] team, you can see the vast ability hole among college and high college.’’
Both Texas Tech’s Farias and Auburn’s Brown stated their clubs’ hockey gamers have become stuck up inside the hoops hoopla, too, with each team making the Final Four for the primary time. “Absolutely. It’s been loopy down right here,’’ Brown said. “It’s terrific.’’ Editor’s note: Photo courtesy Rebekah Bing images and the Texas Tech hockey membership.